Jose Mourinho hopes a lengthy spell as Chelsea boss will help him bring players through from our Academy to the first team.

The Portuguese says he has been given the task of building a team that will continue to challenge for honours in the next 10 years of the Roman Abramovich era, following on from the very successful decade that has passed since the Russian bought the club in 2003. With this in mind, the manager hopes to stay at Stamford Bridge for longer than he did during his first spell in charge, which he considers will have a beneficial effect on his relationship with his players. He explains why this step in his career is built around a long-term plan, in contrast to his previous roles across Europe.

‘It starts to be a different job because of my own project of life,’ says Mourinho.

‘Everything for a manager should start with a project of life and a project of career. I have had my career project since the beginning: I wanted to win competitions in the three big football countries – Italy, Spain and England. It’s something I wanted to do during the time my son and my daughter could do it, because for us it’s very important to be a family together day by day.

‘I was so happy at Inter, and the only reason I wanted to leave was to go to Spain; otherwise I would have stayed at Inter. At this moment of my career I don’t have this career project anymore. Now the club is stable, more mature, it knows the way to do things and the direction it wants to go. That is why I came, because I believe in the club and in the project.

‘I’m here to give my best, and in the first phase have the longest managerial spell at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich bought the club. I don’t have a time to complete the project by. If everybody works well the natural evolution of things will bring success, and there is not a time on that.’

According to Mourinho, a vital part of that project is nurturing players into the first team from the club’s Academy.

‘John Terry was the last, not with me, before me. It’s something I really want to happen,’ he stresses. ‘It’s a global work. The transition period is the most difficult one in football. The club needs a little bit of time and experience, whether the kid jumps straight into the team from Under-18s or is a good prospect for the Under-21s.

‘The club, including Michael Emenalo [pictured above with Mourinho at Cobham on Friday], are working really well in that area too. The loans and all the work around the young players is very well organised. We have to wait for the right moment to bring them to succeed. It can be a question of time because the Academy is very well organised and they work really hard. The transitional period is something the club is taking a lot of care with, so normally it has to happen.’

The more pressing matter is the visit of Manchester United this afternoon. We have accrued five clean sheets in our previous six games in all competitions, and Mourinho pinpoints time spent on the training ground after our Capital One Cup loss at Sunderland last month as the reason behind our recent defensive fortitude.

‘We had a big improvement in that one week where there was no match. We had a complete week to work and we dedicated that week to certain aspects of our defensive game on the pitch that we couldn’t really work on before, we just had visual feedback with images and computer work.

‘So we had to do it on the pitch and it was like a turning point – the team became much more solid.’

– Don’t forget to make your prediction for today’s game with the Chelsea Score Predictor – January’s prize is a shirt signed by the team.

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