The day before the first match since he returned as Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho named his team selection and outlined the part the contest against the Singha All-Stars plays in the pre-season preparations.
The players have just entered their second week of training, the first four days of the first week taking place at Cobham before the squad flew to Thailand to begin the 2013 Here to Play Here to Stay tour. Double sessions have since continued most days and the manager today (Tuesday) reported the training is to his liking.
‘One week means 14 training sessions and 21 hours of hard working, and it is high intensity work,’ Mourinho said.
‘At this moment the players are tired but we are not worried because we understand the process and in the first week this is normal. The players know because they have some experience that in one more week they will start the recovery from this period of accumulation of fatigue, and they will feel much more comfortable.
‘After a week I am still the happy one because my boys have been fantastic because nobody stops, nobody wants to have rest and we are working very, very hard.
‘Day after day the players are showing they want it, and my experience of football says that the most important thing is the players want it. When they want, they can, and when I feel they want it every day I also feel they can have everything.’
Mourinho acknowledged that fatigue will make it difficult for the players to perform to their best in Wednesday’s Singha 80th Anniversary Cup match. Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Manchester United by a Singha All-Stars team showed the quality level Chelsea are likely to be up against.
‘I sent my assistant [Jose Morais] to see that match live and I was speaking with him and their team is good,’ Mourinho said.
‘They are not just Thai players, they have also players from other countries and they play a tactical system that is not easy to play against. They didn’t play probably their best players on Saturday and they will play against us, including Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva who was their league top scorer.
‘They are not tired like us because we are not preparing for this game, we are preparing for the season and this match is part of the preparation.
‘We are far from our top condition but I don’t like to lose and the players don’t like to lose so for sure we will try to get a result. To lose is not a drama but it is not nice and winning is part of the culture.
‘I will give most of the players 45 minutes and they know that if they can work hard for three hours a day and tomorrow I only ask them to work hard for 45 minutes, then in 45 minutes they have to give a strong performance.’
Mourinho announced the 11 players to start the first half is as follows:
Petr Cech, Wallace, Tomas Kalas, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Lucas Piazon, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Romelu Lukaku.
The second half side will begin:
Jamal Blackman, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ryan Bertrand, Marco van Ginkel, Ramires, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Demba Ba, Victor Moses.