Jose Mourinho has added Victor Moses to David Luiz on the list of likely absentees ahead of Sunday’s widely anticipated Barclays Premier League opener against Hull City at Stamford Bridge…
The manager will be without the pair as he makes his return to the home dugout, but could yet select Juan Mata, who is back training with his team-mates.
‘David Luiz is injured. He couldn’t play for Brazil so is out,’ Mourinho said. ‘Moses I don’t know, I saw him in the airport when we landed from the US, he played in South Africa, I don’t know. I don’t select him for Sunday. He came from United States, played in South Africa and arrived back on Friday.
‘Probably I won’t select [Cesar]Azpilicueta, because he is the same. From Ecuador to be on the bench back to London. This type of decision is based on national team matches but the only injury is David, the others will be an option.
‘I have to assess Mata because he was injured in the US, and on Thursday trained for the first time with the group. We will see how he feels, and [Tomas] Kalas we know had a little fracture and still has for a month.’
Despite these early selection issues, Mourinho, who takes the side training at the Bridge today to acclimatise the new players to their surroundings, admits he cannot wait for the campaign to begin.
‘I look forward to many things, the fans’ enthusiasm, not just Chelsea fans, every one,’ he said. ‘Even when you play away and find hostile atmospheres, I look forward to this emotion of the Premier League. The competitiveness I always thought is fantastic. The challenge of making these kids better, and making a team we hope can give us the results we will fight for. It is a team with so much young talent waiting for stability and conditions to succeed. I look forward to everything. The Premier League gives me this and a pleasure to work.’
Since he departed back in 2007, Mourinho believes the quality of football in England has decreased. He is hoping he has the best side this time around.
‘Do you think Man United last year won the Premier League because they were an unbelievable team? I don’t think so,’ the Portuguese said. ‘The other contenders didn’t have a very good season, and the same thing the season before. Were Man City an extraordinary team? I don’t think they were. Other teams made so many mistakes that Man City finally won the competition.
‘In the past years you’ve had a fantastic Arsenal that were champions without a single defeat, Chelsea with record points, Man United that won the title after our double with an unbelievable season too. The champions in other seasons were magnificent. In the last seasons, I felt not. I felt they were champions as a consequence of many things, not just because they were phenomenal. In my opinion they weren’t phenomenal. The other big teams made too many mistakes.
‘It’s difficult to win points in the Premier League but I felt last year in the first period Man United was winning matches and the other teams were losing incredible points. Sometimes you win because you are tremendous, and other times because you are the best, but you can be the best without being tremendous.’
This season, Mourinho agrees with Arsene Wenger’s notion of it being a wide open title race, and believes Chelsea are one of the sides that should be aiming for the trophy.
‘Wenger speaks about six candidates and I agree with him,’ the 50-year-old said. ‘We don’t see that somebody this season can destroy the competition by winning 95, 100 points, so on one side it is good. Competition is very high, but all the managers think the same, we have to try to keep that competitiveness by being really good.
‘We start with zero points as everybody else. We go match after match. We have a good squad with some talent, not end products. Some of the kids never played a Premier League match, Schurrle, Van Ginkel, De Bruyne, Lukaku for Chelsea I don’t know how many but not many, so we have a young team but I want to think this team step by step will be better, make less mistakes and be more solid. Let’s go step by step thinking that we can.’