Chelsea v Steaua Bucharest - Champions League: Chelsea not among favourites, says Jose Mourinho
There are many other sides with a better chance of lifting the trophy, according to the Chelsea manager
Wednesday 11 December 2013
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea, in their current evolutionary state, sit a level below his former club Real Madrid, Barcelona and in particular Bayern Munich, who all have a better chance of winning the Champions League.
Mourinho's side have qualified for the last 16 with a game to spare and will top Group E, and avoid the big three in the next round, if they beat winless Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge. Yet it has not been straightforward progress from a straightforward group with two defeats to Basel, and Mourinho suggested such inconsistency means Chelsea join the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid among the next best.
"Our chance this season, which is my first season, is not comparable with the chances other clubs have," said Mourinho. "Other clubs have completely different stabilities and evolution of the team to be considered favourites to win the competition. In my analysis we are not considered one of the favourites."
Asked who were, Mourinho said: "Bayern – the European champions, a top club, a new manager but same players, unbelievable stability. They won last year, were in the final the year before and in another final in 2010. Now [they have] fantastic stability at this level. Barcelona, Real Madrid – these three teams are clearly in front."
It is up front that Mourinho believes his problems currently lie despite the number of goals his side have conceded – six in their last two league games. Today, he claimed ill-fortune rather than defensive errors were to blame for the three goals let in at Sunderland and joked even the yellow training dummies were getting the breaks against his backline.
"Maybe you will laugh but at the moment if we train defensive corners against the dummies I think the dummy will score – because all the rebounds go to the opponents so I think the rebounds will go to the dummies," he said.
It is, insisted Mourinho, a failure to take chances that is damaging his side. The Portuguese – who spoke at such length that he apologised to the Uefa translator redelivering his words in Romanian before whipping off his training top, signing it and handing it to him – reiterated his unhappiness with his strikers' scoring rate. Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o have scored more in Europe than in the Premier League.
But Mourinho will not alter what he regards as the evolutionary development of the side. "The easiest thing to do in football is to organise a team to play defensively," he said. "Am I going to change the style and play more defensive? No. Am I going to play David Luiz in front of the central defenders? No. Am I going to wait for a counter-attack to try and win 1-0? No. We go in the same direction."
The Steaua match begins a run of eight games in little more than three weeks and Mourinho will shuffle his line-up. Ashley Cole will start his first game for a month. Despite losing his place to Cesar Azpilicueta, Mourinho said that Cole would be offered a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of this season.
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