Jose Mourinho is delighted with the options available to him after another exciting pre-season display in New Jersey on Sunday.
We ran out 2-0 winners against AC Milan on Sunday night thanks to a goal in either half from Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle, his first in a Chelsea shirt, setting up a Guinness International Champions Cup final against Real Madrid, Mourinho’s former club, on Wednesday in Miami.
The margin of victory could have been greater with several chances missed, while at the other end our defence stood firm with a series of brave blocks to preserve another clean sheet, and Mourinho was pleased with the overall display against a side he knows well.
‘It was difficult. They are a team with great experience,’ he said. ‘You see the midfield, Montolivo, Muntari, Boateng coming inside, I am speaking about players with great experience. They know how to play football. They’re with Massimiliano Allegri for a long time now and are tactically mature, they know how to defend.
‘Mario Balotelli is very fast with El Shaarawy, so it was a good experience for us. From a tactical point of view they gave us something to work on, a different kind of problem, and Real Madrid will be different too. We need this to arrive the best we can at the Hull City match. [In pre-season] we have five victories but zero points, and we need points.
‘Tonight we played 4-2-1-3, only with two midfield players, Marco van Ginkel and Michael Essien, and we finished with Mikel and Ramires,’ he said. ‘We have very creative players to play around the striker. All of them are fast, creative, young, [there are] many options. Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Victor Moses, De Bruyne, lots of options and quality.
‘Sometimes the striker does a great job for the team and cannot go to the scoresheet. Fernando Torres today was fantastic and he has five days of training after the Confederations Cup. He is not fit but his attitude was amazing. I have to praise my strikers because they are working for the team.’
Five games into his second tenure, Mourinho recognises a real depth to his squad, but hopes to keep the young group happy by achieving widespread success.
‘We have two players for each position and the competition will be high but we hope Chelsea can go all the way in every competition and we hope to arrive in the later stages of the cups too,’ he explained. So with 60 matches we need all of them.
‘My first team at Chelsea was with players that were in the best moment of their career. We knew that it was ready and just needed some improvements, thinking about the present and not the future.
‘This team is a very young team, if we take Mark Schwarzer at 40, a fantastic goalkeeper to be fair, out of the list, our age goes very low, people that will be better year after year. I’m not saying we don’t want to win now, that’s the nature of this club, my nature, always trying to win. Don’t wait until tomorrow if you can win today, but my job is different because I have young people and I am preparing them not just for this year but for the future.’
We now look ahead to Wednesday night’s final against Real Madrid in the Sun Life Stadium, which will pit Mourinho against his former side and our former manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
‘Real Madrid is playing this competition in pre-season here because I organised it for them,’ he smiled. ‘I did it knowing I was not doing the pre-season with them. After that I did it with my new club and we knew it was very possible we would meet Real. They won their matches, we won ours and we are there.
‘For us it’s very good. We play against a very special team with very special players, in a competition we are not obsessed to win. I will still make changes, one team one half, another team another. We are not there with an obsession to get a result, but to improve. It’s a very good experience and I look forward to it,’ he continued.
‘I think it’s the best for us because we want to play the best teams. We always thought Asia was a pre-season with a more social point of view and was fantastic for our cub, but pre-season here is to improve and arrive in the best conditions for official competition.
‘We played Inter and Milan, two big teams, and now against Real, so for us it’s fantastic, especially for our young players, and we have a lot, [who have played for] clubs not with our dimension used to big crowds, stadiums, and opponents. To play Real is the best thing that could happen.’
Once again, that game will be live on Chelsea TV.