Jose Mourinho has spoken about the work of the club’s scouting department as preparations for the 2013/14 season get underway.
With his official unveiling now complete, and members of the first team squad either away on international duty or on holiday, the focus shifts a little onto the backroom staff with the biannual ‘transfer season’ underway.
Competition to find and secure top players is fierce and Mourinho values the role played in this area by technical director Michael Emenalo and those assisting him.
‘There are many things in a manager’s job that you cannot do, and if you do them, you can’t do them properly,’ explained the Portuguese. ‘Or, if you do, it means that you are losing your influence in other areas that become important, and areas where nobody else can do it for you.
‘So it’s important you have around you structures that can deliver to you the best information, and especially the scouting area, which is a very difficult area for a person like me.
‘I cannot travel because I have important things to do in the club. I cannot travel because if I travel everybody knows I’m travelling, everybody knows where I am, everybody knows the player I’m looking for, everybody starts the speculation.
‘The area of the club responsible for analysing the opponents and preparing the matches is basically the same structure I implemented when I was here, and now they are just waiting for my next input for evolution of that.
‘But in the area of scouting young players, the club has had an evolution. The club is better now than when I came, and I think it’s better because it needs to be better, because you cannot just find a player when he’s 24, 25, 26 and in the best moment of his career.
‘You have to scout and follow before that and you cannot do it without a good structure. That is an area of the club where I found good work is being done. I think Michael and his staff are prepared. They gave me already some, and they are prepared to provide me with the type of information I need.’
Reflecting on his last spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho explained the circumstances of one of the major signings back then – that of Andriy Shevchenko in 2006.
During the years since it has been suggested in the media that the manager was against the transfer, but that simply wasn’t the case.
‘We wanted to buy Samuel Eto’o, he was our target,’ revealed Mourinho. ‘The owner was more than ready to bring Eto’o here because he was the player I wanted.
‘Do you know why? Because he was the only player I could play with [Didier] Drogba, changing the system for two strikers. But he was also ready to play with Drogba in the system we had at the time, with three attacking players, with Eto’o coming from the sides, the same as I did at Inter with him.
‘Sometimes there I was playing Eto’o and [Diego] Milito in a 4-4-2 system, and when I wanted to play with three attackers I was playing [Goran] Pandev, Milito and Eto’o.
‘We wanted Eto’o; Mr Abramovich did everything to bring him and [then chief executive] Peter Kenyon did everything to bring him. In the end, Barcelona said they didn’t want to sell, forget it. One more zero, one less zero [on the price], forget it.
‘So our option that the owner was doing everything to bring wasn’t possible because Barcelona decided no money would do it. After that we went to other options and it became the Shevchenko option.
‘I was happy. But if you buy 20 kids, not 20 kids will go on to the first team as a successful professionals, and even with the top dogs, when you pay 30, 40, 50 or £60million, sometimes it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t mean you made a mistake or the club made a mistake, it just doesn’t work.’