Jose Mourinho takes his side to West Bromwich Albion tonight looking to consolidate our position at the top of the Premier League table, and the Portuguese is pleased with the way in which the season has gone up to this point.
Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge last summer having experienced a fruitful first spell at the club, guiding us to back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, as well as winning the FA Cup and two League Cups. Saturday’s win against Newcastle United, coupled with both Arsenal and Manchester City dropping points, saw the Blues move to the top of the table, and he paid tribute to the work being carried out by everybody at the club.
‘Obviously it was a big decision for the owner to bring me back, and for me to be back was a big decision for me, so when you commit to that decision it’s not just because we have a good personal relationship and respect, it’s also because we’ve agreed to go in a certain direction,’ he said.
‘The direction that was proposed to me, I accepted. People used to look at me more as a guy who arrives at a club immediately and wants to attack the title. For me, this was a different profile of job. Everything was explained to me; Financial Fair Play, a certain style of football we want to play, the young talented players we have, not just here but on loan and, since day one, we are all going in the same direction.
‘What I feel is that at this moment, I am not doing it, we are doing it. It’s not my philosophy, it’s our philosophy. It’s not the way I want the team to play football, it’s the way we want the team to play football.’
Inevitably, comparisons will be made between his current side and the group he oversaw during his initial spell in SW6, but the challenges he faces presently are different to those he had to overcome first time around.
‘It’s not easy because the other Chelsea team won a lot: three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Charity Shield, Champions League and Europa League’ said Mourinho.
‘The first objective is that this team, in terms of the enthusiasm and flair of its game is better than the previous team. The other team was a special team, with special quality, characteristics and personalities but the objective, because of the different profile, is that we have to play differently and play a certain kind of football.’
Mourinho also spoke of the work being carried out behind the scenes in order for the club to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
The sales of Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne in January left us in a strong position, and he believes a number of intelligent purchases in recent years should serve us well in the long term.
‘Chelsea made great investments in the past and in some moments we were criticised because we did so much, but things change and we’ve adapted to those conditions,’ explained the Blues boss.
‘With, for example, a player like Kevin De Bruyne, who played three or four games, we made a fantastic profit. There are other players that belong to Chelsea who maybe won’t play one single match for us, so we’ll sell them.
‘We had to organise ourselves in a different way. It wasn’t me, it was before me, but the club were doing fantastic work in this area; Lukaku, De Bruyne, Courtois, Thorgan Hazard, Piazon.
‘Lots of young players, not all of them will have a career at Chelsea but all of them are important in this new financial situation. Chelsea worked very well and probably started doing it before other clubs.’
Of course, there is plenty of football still to be played between now and May, but should Mourinho mark his first season back at the helm by guiding his side to the title, there will certainly be no bigger motivation going into next season than repeating the feat.
‘I keep saying that next season we can be better than this season; more time, one or two new players, more experience for the young guys. If we have a title the title gives you more status and that’s a good thing for the players.
‘Motivation is always there, how many titles did Sir Alex Ferguson win? Thirteen, and he always wanted to win one more. I’ve won seven, if I win eight I want to win nine.’