Chelsea qualified for the knock-out stage of the Champions League after beating Porto at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager, would be glad to stay among the European elites, allowing him more time from the Chelsea hierarchy.
The 52-year-old also revealed the names of the players he thinks have underperformed this season. Eden Hazard wasn’t included in his list which comprised mainly of his defensive line.
The former Real Madrid and Inter boss said: “If you go player-by-player, last season – Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry – you could say were fantastic.
“This season it is more difficult to say this player is being magnificent.
“Normally players and the team have an intimate relationship.
“I don’t see Cesc differently, but what I see is that every minute the professionalism is there, and he is never afraid to have the ball or to be afraid to make a mistake. I completely trust him.”
On Monday, the Premier League champions face the Premier League leaders in game week 16 of 2015/16 Premier League season.
Claudio Ranieri’s men are 17 points ahead of Chelsea. The Blues finished last season with a whopping 46 points gap between them and the 14th-placed Leicester. The tables have completely turned this season as the English champions are now at the 14th spot while Leicester are two points clear at the top of the table.
Speaking in his pre-match conference, Jose Mourinho claimed that Leicester City can win the Premier League title, and they deserve to be at the top of the table. He also conceded that his team is underperforming.
“They deserve to be where they are. I said a few weeks ago that I did not believe that they could be champions, maybe I need to reconsider. It would be something magnificent, something to impress the football world.
“They are there because they are doing well. We are where we are because we are under-performing. It is the same players and coach that we had last year.”
He also praised Leicester’s Italian boss. He said, “I think he won manager of the month. He should win manager of the half-term… the first six months.”
Chelsea will hope to return to winning ways after last week’s loss to Bournemouth. Mourinho isn’t completely convinced that his side can retain the Champions League place and the setback against Bournemouth was beyond his imagination.
“Before we lost the last three points against Bournemouth, I was convinced of a great December for us, to go for fourth.
“Now it’s not so easy, so who knows.
“I have to say, the last defeat was something that was far away from what I believed could happen.”