Chelsea expect to go one better, says Mourinho

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho believes that all the hard work of last season will count for nothing if Chelsea do not maintain their dominance in the Premiership. The Portuguese coach swept into Stamford Bridge during the summer of 2004 on the back of his European success with Porto and promptly led the Blues to their first domestic crown since 1955, winning the Carling Cup along the way for good measure.

They may have been beaten in the semi-finals of the Champions' League by eventual winners Liverpool, but that did not stop the "special one" being voted the BBC Sports Coach of the Year on Sunday.

Chelsea are 12 points clear in the Premiership. Though they have been knocked out of the Carling Cup, the Blues will head into the final 16 of the Champions' League next year as favourites to go one better than last season.

Mourinho, though, accepted with such high goals, comes a need to deliver the goods time and again. "I don't say it is difficult because I feel pressure, as I don't feel a lot of pressure, to be fair. But you know you have to get results," the 43-year-old reflected after having picked up his award at Sunday's live TV show in London. "You know it's not because of the success two years ago, five or 10 years ago - you have to be successful every year. Because of that, it is difficult. When you are a manager of a club or a national team, you have the job that millions of people think they could have - so it's not very easy."

Mourinho felt the accolade - voted for by the British public - was just as much for the efforts of everyone at Stamford Bridge. "I feel this award, not as an individual award but as one to Chelsea's success, my players, my club, my board, people who support the club. When people recognise what you are doing and you have trophy of this dimension, of course, it is very nice. I am very flattered.

"What I like is that people recognise that I'm good at my job. Of course, I cannot expect Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool fans to be in love with me, because I'm trying to take from them what they want. I try to fight for the respect of other people. The same way I respect them, because I respect other clubs, I hope they can respect my work."

As well as winning over the sporting public, Mourinho firmly believes he also has a mutual "respect" from his fellow coaches. "I believe so. I respect them," he declared. "Sometimes you can have little problems and when you have them, you want to solve it, like for example what happened between me and Arsène Wenger. After one week, I want to solve it, he wants to solve it, and we did it. So I think it is important - you want to win, but sometimes you have to respect people and deserve to get the respect from them."

The Chelsea playing squad, meanwhile, enjoyed some well-deserved time off at their Christmas party while Mourinho was at the Television Centre.

"In the last year they have been fantastic and I think they deserve their party," he said. "On Monday, I have given them a free day, so I think they were not watching it. But when they know I got the award, they know I thought of them, and they know it belongs to them."

With the reopening of the transfer window only a few weeks away, the rumours have again started over which players will leave or arrive at Stamford Bridge. Dutch winger Arjen Robben has reiterated his desire to stay, while the future of German international centre-back Robert Huth, who has started just one Premiership game this season, remains a topic for debate.

Michael Essien could be missing from the next stage of Chelsea's Champions' League campaign as Uefa, the governing body of European football, investigate his tackle against Liverpool's Dietmar Hamman in the group game at Stamford Bridge.