Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday that he feels he retains the support of owner Roman Abramovich despite the looming risk of Champions League elimination. The misfiring Premier League champions face a make-or-break on Wednesday, when they need a draw to rubber-stamp their place in the Champions League last 16.
Chelsea remain 14th in the Premier League after Saturday’s abject 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth, and Mourinho refused to speculate about what might happen if they fail against Porto, saying only “there are no ifs.” But he issued a robust defense of his Chelsea record, saying:
“I think that I did lots of good things in this club for the owner to know the quality I have.
“The owner shows me that belief twice: once when he brought me back to the club (in 2013); the second time when he gave me a new contract for four years (in August).
“I don’t think the owner is a person to change with the wind. I know the wind of the results is an important wind. I know this wind is strong because the results in the Premier League are really bad.
“But I think the owner knows who I am and what I give to the club, and the owner believes that I am the right person to do the job.”
Chelsea’s hierarchy gave Mourinho a public vote of confidence in October, but there has been no official communication from the club’s board since.
With a top-four finish in the Premier League looking an increasingly remote possibility, Chelsea need to find an alternative means of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. If they finish third in Group G they will drop into the Europa League, but although victory in that competition would take them into the Champions League, Mourinho is setting his sights higher.
– ‘Play the best teams’ –
“I know that, in this moment, it looks to win the Europa League might be an easier way to be in the Champions League next season than to finish in the top four,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“But there is another possibility, which is to win the Champions League. It’s harder than winning the Europa League, yes, but this is the competition we’re in.
“I was always against the teams being knocked out of the Champions League going into the Europa League because there’s such a big difference in the level of competition between the teams in both.
“It’s not fair on those who have been in the Europa League. If you are knocked out of the Champions League, you should go home and focus on domestic competitions.
“But because the rules say the third has the chance to go to the Europa League, it’s a good way for those who are knocked out of the Champions League to win the competition and get back into the Champions League next season.
“But we don’t want that. We want to play Champions League, play the best teams –- Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern, all the big teams. And, for that, we need to win tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Mourinho also believes his side are doing all they can to improve results and claims his side have broken their intensity records in the past three matches.
“Statistics are statistics, but if you analyze the numbers you can get some good information,” he told reporters at the club’s Cobham training ground.
“Match after match, we beat Chelsea records of high-intensity work. In the last three matches we beat the records three times.
“We ran and worked more than ever, and at a certain intensity we’d never done before. Our levels of ball possession are much higher than before, too.
“Our chances are higher than ever. Our number of goals is lower than ever. You have the numbers, you read the numbers, you draw some conclusions.”
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