Chelsea v Norwich: Jose Mourinho claims adopting defensive tactics was to prevent Chelsea dropping out of top four

Mourinho feels he had to stop the Blues' attacking philosophy to ensure the 'dangers' of the Premier League didn't result in them dropping out of the Champions League

Jose Mourinho has revealed he changed the emphasis on Chelsea's tactical set-up in order to preserve their place in the Premier League's top four for fear of falling out of the Champions League qualification spots.

The Blues need one point from the concluding matches with Norwich, who visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and at Cardiff to ensure automatic qualification for next season's Champions League.

The self-proclaimed Special One had earlier in the campaign spoken of Chelsea being more expressive and taking the initiative before reverting to a sterner style which made them hard to beat.

Mourinho's men have a slim title chance - relying on Manchester City and Liverpool slipping up - but may not be in the top four had it not been for the tactical adjustment.

"I knew what I was doing," said Mourinho, who was criticised for defensive tactics in the wake of last Sunday's win at Anfield.

 

"We are still in a position, mathematically, to win the Premier League and in the Champions League we reached the semi-final and we had one foot in the final.

"There are moments when you have to go for the strategical point of view if you want to have a chance to compete for what we compete.

"At a certain moment, if you don't go for a bit more stability and a bit less development of a certain philosophy, it's a big risk.

"I made the decision to stop that evolution in the style and philosophy of play and I went in the direction where I felt it was the only way that, with this team and with these players, we could get results.

"It's not a cup. I don't want to get a bonus for finishing top four, no way, no way; the moment I think like that I'm in trouble.

"(But) there was a moment that I felt this Premier League was so dangerous that was the big risk for every one of the big teams to be out of the top four."

The Portuguese made no apology for recent displays, pointing to the inability of freescoring Liverpool's vaunted strikeforce of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to break through his side and the fact that Diego Costa - a man coveted by Chelsea - scored only a penalty in two games for Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea are targeting a goalscoring striker this summer, with a deal for Costa reportedly close, and will recover their more attractive style, which was visible at times this season.

"Don't forget we had lots of matches, and long periods this season where we produced fantastic football, even away from home, but we weren't the killer profile," Mourinho added.

"At Everton (in September) we should have been 5-0 up at half-time, but we were 1-0 down. Things are not sometimes like people like to say.

"We build certain bases that we need to recover in the beginning of next season, especially when we have this little, little transformation and improvement in our squad that we need.

"Next season we will start the season, hopefully, I can have finally the feeling of 'okay, we are going to try (to win the title) and we really feel we can'.

"But even so the next summer I think we're going to feel the danger of (missing out on) the top four.

"The difference between being champions and outside the top four is a small difference."

PA

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