Jose Mourinho is confident the philosophy he is seeking to implement long-term will bring about an improvement in results sooner rather than later.
Speaking at his weekly Friday pre-match press conference, which took place at the Cobham media room, the Portuguese, somewhat unsurprisingly, was asked for his thoughts on a difficult week which has seen us lose away at Everton in the Premier League as well as at home to Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Mourinho certainly isn’t shocked by the reaction to the results, but feels it’s far too early in the season to make any judgements, and insisted the evolution of his young squad will take a little bit of time.
‘I think scrutiny is normal, I’ve been in football long enough to not be surprised by scrutiny, opinions and critics,’ he said. ‘I’m not surprised, I’m not worried.
‘I have a job to do, I know where I want to go and I know the steps I have to take. I also know that when you want to build something different and the players are comfortable with a philosophy they’ve had for years, it’s more difficult.
‘The easiest thing for a new manager is to arrive at a club and not to change, going in the same direction, but there is no panic. There is a period where, I understand, if the results are not good people will put some question marks, but it’s up to me if I want to follow the direction I want to go or not.
‘If somebody expects me to play against Fulham, because we need the victory, with a low block, nine players behind the ball, waiting for Fulham to make a mistake so we score a goal on the counter attack and to go home with three points, I’m not going in that direction.
‘The first thing I have to say is we lost nothing. We didn’t finish third in the Champions League group, we didn’t get relegated to the Europa league and we didn’t finish third in the Premier League. We lost one match in the Premier League, the other five contenders for the title have all lost a match apart from Liverpool.
‘In the Champions League we lost a match that we shouldn’t lose, but we were not relegated to the Europa League, so if you like scrutiny you will have to wait because it’s not about the way you start but how you finish.’
Mourinho went on to explain the light-hearted nature of today’s training session.
‘Instead of doing tactical work as I like to do before the match, instead of doing set pieces I did a funny session,’ he said. ‘We played handball, basketball, we played with the goalkeepers with us scoring goals. I made a funny session where everybody was smiling and laughing and I think that’s important.
‘The way sometimes is not to massacre the players with tactical questions, so it was a good session for them, the only way I know is to work hard and keep the spirits high.’
Almost every member of the first team squad has featured at some point so far this season, and Mourinho stressed that for those looking to nail down a regular place in the side, producing the goods on a matchday is what really counts.
‘The pitch makes decisions, the same way what I did in the past means nothing, what players did in the past means nothing,’ said the Blues boss. ‘The way I work is that the pitch speaks, and what the players do on the pitch, not yesterday or one year ago or 10 years ago, but in the last match or training sessions, that’s how I make decisions.
‘Some players with their performances say to me that this is my place so don’t touch it. Some other players, they don’t perform in a way that can take doubts away from me, so for some positions I would say that no doubt, this player in this moment is first choice. In some other positions I need more information to decide.’
On tomorrow’s game, the first of successive London derbies in the league, Mourinho, who has a fully fit squad to choose from, anticipates a tough contest.
‘They have a very good, experienced manager and a team completely adapted to the Premier League,’ he said. ‘They know everything about the Premier League and derbies. A midfield with [Scott] Parker and [Steve] Sidwell is a great example of experience at this level.
‘They know how to play and they have talented players in attack, [Dimitar] Berbatov, and [Darren] Bent who is fast. They are a difficult opponent, at Stamford Bridge they always show it’s not easy, in the last seven matches they’ve drawn four times.
‘We need points, they also need points, they have different objectives to us but between the needs of the two teams and the fact it’s a local derby, it will be a proper Premier League match.’