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.
Chelsea player ratings vs Sporting
Chelsea player ratings vs Sporting
1/10 Petr Cech
With Chelsea already through as Group G winners, Thibaut Courtois was given the night off and Cech made just his fourth start of the season. He could do nothing about Sporting’s goal but did produce a good save from Islam Slimani’s powerful second-half header. 7/10
2/10 Cesar Azpilicueta
Switched to right back to accommodate Filipe Luis and had a comfortable evening. Booked late on. 7
3/10 Kurt Zouma
The 20-year-old defender impressed after coming on as a substitute against Tottenham and, playing alongside Gary Cahill at centre-half, did well again here. 7
4/10 Filipe Luis
Has found opportunities limited since moving to Stamford Bridge last summer and will struggle to break into the Chelsea side ahead of Azpilicueta. 6
5/10 Cesc Fabregas
Played further forward in the No10 role and put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot after eight minutes. 7
6/10 Jon Obi Mikel
Put Chelsea 3-1 up with just fifth goal in eight years and his first since January. Did will alongside Matic in midfield. 7
7/10 Nemanja Matic
Chelsea missed Matic against Newcastle and the Serbia international, who has become a key player for Jose Mourinho, was a commanding presence in midfield. 7
8/10 Mohamed Salah
Had a rare opportunity to impress Jose Mourinho but did little and was substituted after 70 minutes. 5
9/10 Andre Schurrle
Scored his first goal since September to double Chelsea’s lead in the firs half, but then his weak header was punished by Jonathan Silva for Sporting’s goal. Replaced by Ramires after 73 minutes. 7
10/10 Diego Costa
Still looking for his first Champions League goal. Had a quiet evening. 6
“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.”
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.