Chelsea 3 Sporting 1: Jose Mourinho says there are 'a few sharks in the ocean' for the Blues to face in the next round

Blues could yet face PSG or Juventus in the Last 16

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Jose Mourinho revealed last night he has been swimming with sharks, and added to the theme of risk by suggesting he hoped to be paired with Paris St Germain in Monday’s Champions League draw.

Mourinho, in relaxed mood after Chelsea completed their group stage with a comfortable win over Sporting Lisbon, said he went swimming with sharks, albeit in a cage and after persuasion from his family, while on holiday in French Polynesia.

The topic came up after he said of Chelsea’s Champions League prospects:  "Last year we were close and we didn't have the team playing at such a high level as we do this season so we can dream we will do it. But let's see if the sharks let us, because there are a few sharks in the ocean."

The biggest would appear to be PSG, led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic with whom Mourinho worked fruitfully at Internazionale. But Mourinho said: “Paris would be good as it's easy to travel for us and the fans. That would be good.”

When it was suggested that was the toughest potential opponent he added: “Every one is hard. You think Basel is easy? We lost twice to them last year and they beat Liverpool. Two or three years ago they beat [Manchester] United. Leverkusen are a German team. Shakhtar... I don't think there are easy teams at this moment.

 

“I don't think any of the big teams – I'm not talking about big clubs, but 'big teams' – is out of the Champions League now. Maybe Liverpool. But all the teams that want to win the competition are all still in the competition. The real Champions League starts now. Barcelona, Real, Juventus, Bayern, Dortmund, Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris... it starts now. Last season we were not one of the top four, for sure, and we played in the semi-finals. Let's see what we can do this season, step by step.”

Mourinho was pleased with his team's victory, achieved through goals by Cesc Fabregas, Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel. “We had a good attitude. The players were serious: the ones who are not playing a lot got a chance, the ones who play regularly faced the game in the right way, and we did what we had to do. We played seriously and we deserved to win.”

Not everything was serious though. Mourinho claimed he said to Ruben Loftus-Cheek before sending the 18-year-old on for his first team debut: "I gave you this, you have to give me a nice bottle of red wine’.” Loftus-Cheek, said Mourinho, replied: “No problem.”

Of the teenager’s cameo Mourinho added: “He showed a very good personality, very positive, not afraid of playing, not afraid to have the ball. He wanted to participate. Obviously there were low levels of responsibility. We are qualified, the result is 3-1 and the game is over, but he showed immediately the quality he has. Everyone in the stadium had the feeling we have a kid with talent. So keep going, keep working hard, and hopefully people around him don't disturb the work we are doing with him.”

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