Mourinho to demand clear-out at Chelsea

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho said yesterday that he plans a clear-out of Chelsea's squad. The club's new manager wants just "21 players", plus three goalkeepers, and will remove several big names, including a number signed since Roman Abramovich's takeover last summer.

Jose Mourinho said yesterday that he plans a clear-out of Chelsea's squad. The club's new manager wants just "21 players", plus three goalkeepers, and will remove several big names, including a number signed since Roman Abramovich's takeover last summer.

Others will have just "15 days" from the start of pre-season training on 5 July to impress Mourinho or face the same fate.

Mourinho, 41, also said, as he was formally presented as Claudio Ranieri's successor, that he would thrive on the pressure to succeed. "I clap with both hands the idea that we have to win something," he said, claiming it would provide motivation, even though he boasts a three-year contract worth a basic £4.1m-a-year and the most powerful transfer budget in world football.

At least 12 players will go this summer and, although Mourinho refused to discuss names, they are likely to include Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Marcel Desailly.

Three others - Emmanuel Petit, Winston Bogarde and Mario Melchiot - are out of contract and definitely leaving, along with Jesper Gronkjaer and Mario Stanic.

Mourinho will be attracted by the core of young English players - he is a great admirer of Frank Lampard - but will probably bring in just three new faces to supplement the goalkeeper Petr Cech and winger Arjen Robben, who are already arriving.

Mourinho would not be drawn whether they would come from his former club, Porto, where he is interested in three players, including the right-back Paulo Ferreira, but he confirmed that he would be bringing his backroom staff. He also wants the Marseille striker Didier Drogba.

"If all the names that have been written are correct we will have a 50-player squad and I hate working with big squads," Mourinho said. "With my methodology, I want short squads."

That includes an emphasis on team-work. "When you have a big box of oranges and one of the oranges is sick, one month later you have 10 oranges to send to the garbage," he said of the danger of keeping unhappy players, indicating that there would be no more tinkering. "I chose Chelsea because I was reading a lot of things about how do you cope with the pressure, with big players, with the urgent ambitions to win titles. That's what I love," Mourinho added.

He could not resist a swipe at Ranieri, who had questioned his credentials. The Italian, he said, had won nothing but the Spanish Cup in 20 years of coaching - in fact, he has also won the Italian Cup - whereas he had gained five trophies in two years, including the European Cup and Uefa Cup. "I didn't win them playing against 20 Portuguese teams."

Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, said: "In Jose, we believe we've got the best coach in Europe. He's been charged with being arrogant. I don't think he's arrogant. I think he's confident and self-assured and very thoughtful." Part of the "game plan" will be to overhaul Chelsea's "woeful youth policy".

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