With Chelsea back in domestic action this weekend following a confidence-boosting big win in Europe, the aim is to put a run of victories together, and Jose Mourinho is working hard to instil the mindset required into his squad.
The Portuguese’s long and immense record of success has been built with teams capable of remarkable consistency of performance, plus the ability to move on quickly from any set back.
Given the developing nature of this Chelsea team, Mourinho does not see it as a certainty to deliver on those counts yet, but they are well on course.
‘The players are good professionals but they need to feel and accept the responsibilities of a big club where you cannot fail, where you cannot play one good game and then one bad game, and this mental stability is hard to get,’ he explains.
‘In a league like our league it is difficult because every team can win a game and take points from a title contender. We need to equip our people to play under this kind of pressure, to not accept the defeat easily, to not go to a game thinking that one point is good enough. This is the kind of mentality you have to build in a team and it is not easy.
‘The day I lose a match and go home with a smile on my face – goodbye – finish!’ Mourinho declares.
‘This is something you have naturally and if you don’t have it naturally, you get it, and you can get it because these players are good people – people who like to win, people who like to work so I don’t think getting that mentality will be a big problem, or will take a long time for us.’
To justify his positive outlook, Mourinho lists a Chelsea defence that is becoming very solid, a tactical discipline that has been taken on board and when it comes to creative play, he sees moves the squad worked on since pre-season in Asia and the United States increasingly appearing in games.
‘It is all coming step by step,’ he says.
‘We know that we cannot win every game, we know we cannot win every competition but we have to play every game of every competition to win. If you do that and you lose, you don’t go home with a smile on your face but you sleep fine, because you know you had the right approach, you gave everything and the opponent won because the opponent is better than you. You have to accept that without it being a drama. But we have to find the right mentality.’
The manager spoke after the midweek win over Steaua Bucharest about the pressure he put on the players before that game, and he has since revealed his message to them prior to kick-off, giving an insight into how he asks his team to put a bad result behind them.
‘I told them we did garbage [against Basel] and we must clean the garbage. When I lose a game, that is always the mentality. Don’t cry, don’t be depressed, wait for the next match and when that next match is two days later it is perfect; when it is one week later it is hard.
‘We want the next match. Nobody hides, everybody wants it, and let’s go to the next match to clean the garbage we did before.’