Chelsea manager José Mourinho spoke today ahead of Monday night’s game against West Brom at the Hawthorns.
The Portuguese coach stressed the fact that Chelsea are not going to completely clear out their squad for next season but, first, this one has to come to an end and there is a 90 points league “record” that can be reached:
“90 points…it’s not just that tha matters in the game, I keep repeating I was impressed by Palace, the attitude they got at Stamford Bridge: they didn’t need points and made a fantastic game.
I’m happy that WBA are champions in their league and don’t need points too, but it’s their last game at home, and we are the champions,we have a responsibility as champions.
“To be champions is to be champions, and the maximum points we can do, the better, the maximum possible distance from the second one, the better.”
Mourinho mentioned Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, who, according to his agent, has been given the green light to speak to other clubs.
“I don’t think if it’s absolutely true what Cech’s agent says, maybe the reality is a little different, but he still got a contract.
“I want the best players and the most important players in my squad. My position, my desire, is him to stay. I would like him to stay and I’m optimistic.”
Patrick Bamford was also mentioned, with question marks over whether the youngster will be at Stamford Bridge next season. He has had a brilliant campaign with Middlesbrough, who are currently in the Championship play-offs. The Teesiders play Brentford tonight to decide whether they will be in the play-off final.
The 52-year old then went on to speak further about the upcoming transfer window:
“Bamford is still a Middlesbrough player, today it’s an important day for them, they are playing the playoff second leg.
“I hope he does the best for them, after that is time for us to think and speak about it. Impressed by him? I will be impressed if he scores three goals tonight”
“Will I have a busy summer? I expect to be busy going from my towel in the sand to the water and swim a little bit, that’s how I expect to be busy.
“Last season I was for sure more keen in selling players, in this moment the base is to keep my squad.”
One talking point recently is the fact that the Chelsea boss wasn’t given the April Manager of the Month award, despite the Blues winning the title. But, attention hads turned to the Manager of the Year award, which many expect Mourinho to claim. However, the Portuguese says he will be happy either way:
“Manager of the year award? In this season the big trophy didn’t come to my house, but stay at Stamford Bridge.
“I was glad the second trophy was won by Hazard, that was voted the best player in the league. If the third one, the Manager of the Year award, comes I will be happy.”
Mourinho will face Baggies manager Tony Pulis, who coincidentally won the Manager of the Year award last year. The Chelsea boss was quick to praise his colleague and opponent:
“If I were an English club owner – and this will never happen- I would sign Tony Pulis as a manager: he never manages clubs to be champion or in the top four, but he brings stability and does what the club want.
“Not everybody stresses that but for me an important thing in a manager work is what the manager wants and what the team actually is: his teams are exactly what he wants.”
Ahead of Monday’s game, which kicks off at 8pm, Mourinho revealed that the squad does have some absentees. Nathan Ake is expected to start.
“Injuries; Ramires, Oscar and Zouma… season over. Cech can come back for the last game, Diego Costa is supposed to be selected for this game, he should be ready.
The game has nothing but pride resting on it, as West Brom are safe and Chelsea are guaranteed first place. Now, Mourinho’s attentions have started to turn to preparation for next season.
“We don’t have the pressure that you got when you are almost there anymore, that situation is over, but I don’t change a lot, I will follow the normal route,” Mourinho said.
“We got also friendlies in Thailand and Australia and the end of the season, before our holidays, step by step we will think about next season.”
Mourinho was asked why he didn’t celebrate like his squad did when Chelsea won the title, but he was quick to respond.
“It’s not true I hadn’t celebrated when we won the league with Palace: I was celebrating in my office, I left the players the pitch because it was their moment, of course I celebrated.”
Last week saw the Blues face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. It was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s last game in a Liverpool shirt at Chelsea, most likely. Mourinho praised the veteran midfielder both before and after the game, revealing he had tried to sign him more than once. Gerrard rebuffed Chelsea’s attention.
“When I tried to bring Gerrard to my teams I tried to be keen and intelligent, I never put pressure on him to leave Liverpool. I think tomorrow he will realise why that decision worked.”
Another story this week was that of Andre Schürrle’s surprise to receive a Premier League winners medal, despite leaving the club in January.
“All the players that started the season with us were invited to get the Premier League medal and also to the Player of the Year dinner, I’m not sure they can come.
“So Schürrle, Salah, Schwarzer and Lewis Baker were all invited even though you need 5 appearances to get the official medal, and players like Schwarzer hadn’t got a single minute, but we are going to buy medals and do replicas of the cup. One minute or nothing, for us they’ re champions.
“John Terry, Ivanovic and Eden Hazard they all want to start every game in the Premier League, and we will try to do it,even because to do that here in England is not easy.”
Mourinho’s last comment was on Vhelsea’s shape ahead of the upcoming transfer market:
“The market is difficult but we are in a good situation. We don’t want dramatic changes but stability in the squad. We believe in this team, we are stable and last season we got stability to analyse to improve the team. We want to keep the squad and improve the motivation. We will just bring a couple of extra players to improve the squad”
“We are not going to go in the market game, we know what we want, it’s not much”.