Jose Mourinho is anticipating making changes to his starting line-up when Chelsea resume action this Wednesday in the Champions League.
The Blues have recorded back-to-back wins in Europe after the opening group stage loss to Basel but host Schalke this week following defeat in Newcastle on Saturday, a performance the manager made clear on the day disappointed him greatly.
On Sunday he discussed the game with the players having maintained his belief that the minutes straight after a setback are not the time do so, with preparations for facing the Bundesliga side continuing today.
‘I will make changes,’ Mourinho reported after the 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park.
‘Not 11 changes because that would be too much, but changes for sure.
‘I don’t know my best team because we have this kind of performance. I know basically which is my best team but it depends on the way we perform because performances and results push you for decisions.’
It is our away form that is giving the manager most cause for thought at the moment because although the team slipped up in Europe at Stamford Bridge, no Barclays Premier League points have been dropped at home. It is a different case on the road.
‘At home, five games, five victories and away, five matches, one victory, two defeats,’ he lists. ‘We can also say that we played away in very difficult stadiums. We played at Man United, Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton, we played in probably the most difficult places to go, but I have to analyse it by another perspective which is the perspective of why we don’t do better, and why especially on Saturday because that was the worst.
‘Against Everton we were really unlucky because we had a fantastic first half and in the second half we had a clear penalty for us and the referee didn’t give it. At Newcastle we had the kind of match we have to analyse deeply because it was the worst.’
Mourinho discounts the idea that having won the previous six games in all competitions before the weekend, the team might have been lulled into a false sense of security.
‘You have to know why you win, and you don’t win by a miracle. You win by effort, you win by commitment, you win by ambition, you win by quality and you win by expressing yourself individually but in the team context. You have to know why you win and I tell my players every time I can, every time I have meetings with them, don’t forget why you are getting results.’
Fortunately, as usual in Chelsea’s calendar there is another fixture hard on the heels of the previous one and an early chance to begin to put a disappointing result behind us.
‘We are in a stable position to qualify in the Champions League but if we lose again we are in a difficult position,’ notes Mourinho, ‘so Wednesday is an important game for us.’