Jose Mourinho is already looking forward to the challenge that awaits him and his squad next season. Since returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer our manager has maintained his focus is on improving both the individual and collective abilities of his squad. If this is achieved Mourinho expects he will be able to declare us legitimate title challengers by the start of the next campaign, and looking ahead to this summer and beyond, he explained it is something he is relishing.
‘I am enjoying building a team and building for the future,’ he said.
‘I am enjoying not working just for today. I’m enjoying not starting again next season with another team, spending a lot of money, bringing in and selling a lot of other players. I’m enjoying this very much.
‘I don’t enjoy being the underdog, so I’m going to enjoy next season more when my work as a coach and the club’s work is going to have a sequence – to start next season and immediately say we are candidates. That is our challenge. The education these players are having during this season allows them in the next pre-season to be face-to-face with an opponent and say “we are the same as you, we want to win as much as you”.
‘I see this summer as a very quiet summer for me and for the club: finish this season, work a couple of weeks to prepare the details of pre-season, one, maximum two signings and one or two to leave because they want to play more. I see a very quiet and calm summer.’
Mourinho may not envisage a particularly busy summer for himself or the club, but the World Cup in Brazil – which starts in a little over four months’ time – will ensure the footballing fraternity will have something to feast on when the domestic action takes a break. Ashley Cole is hoping to feature in his fourth World Cup for England and despite no longer being guaranteed a starting place at Chelsea our manager underlined why he believes our left-back warrants a spot in Roy Hodgson’s squad.
‘I think the national team managers in every country know who are the best players, who are the players they trust and who are the players that were important during qualification. I don’t think they are influenced much by the fact a player is playing a lot or not so much,’ assessed Mourinho.
‘Ashley is playing well for us. Okay, he is not playing every game but when he plays he is playing well and I think that is what Roy Hodgson needs to feel and needs to know.
‘At the moment our team is playing very well from a defensive point of view. We’ve found some balance. On our left side we have Eden, a very offensive winger that plays very wide, and we have stability with Azpilicueta being behind him as a strong defender. On the right side it’s different because we have a winger who comes inside a lot and a right-back that is going forward, so we are finding the balances.
‘I believe more in stability and knowing the player and what they can give you in high pressure situations like a World Cup. It’s not my problem, it’s Roy’s problem, but I think he goes for stability and takes Ashley and Leighton Baines who are the left-backs that helped the team qualify.’