Ahead of our second trip to Manchester City in as many weeks, this time in the FA Cup, Jose Mourinho says his team will adopt a similar approach to the one that worked so well when the teams met in the league.
A blustery and wet Cobham played host to the manager’s pre-match press conference this afternoon and in a packed media room Mourinho revealed his thoughts about our big cup clash at the Etihad. Our game is one of two standout FA Cup ties this weekend – Arsenal host Liverpool in the other – and the manager explained the fact that the Premier League’s top four are facing off at this stage of the competitions only adds to its beauty.
The manager began by discussing two of our centre-backs’ availability for the trip north.
‘John (Terry) is not back. I think Cahill is out,’ reported Mourinho. ‘He injured his calf against West Brom. He tried to train today but he didn’t finish the training session in the best conditions. He is going for a scan to be sure if he can or he can’t (play).’
Mourinho takes his charges back to the stadium where we produced one of our finest performances of the season so far, and while he hopes we can replicate that showing tomorrow our manager is aware of the difficulties posed by coming up against a side twice in quick succession.
‘No two games are the same but is our approach the same? Are we going there to try to win in spite of the fact we know we are going to play against the best team in this country? Yes, our approach is the same,’ stated Mourinho.
‘We analysed the game step by step and they had chances, our keeper played well. The game was very equal. You can try to read the previous game and try to improve things. You can try to analyse mistakes and the opposition, you can be influenced by the direction a game took. They will be strong even if they change their team or the way they play.
‘We don’t want a replay, we don’t need a replay. We are not going there to try to get a draw and bring the game to Stamford Bridge. We want to try to win.’
Another victory in the North-West would send us through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and as a result of the way the draw has panned out we would likely be joined in the last eight by some sides not accustomed to reaching that stage of the competition.
‘The FA Cup is big and beautiful,’ stressed Mourinho. ‘It’s beautiful for everybody. The draw helped make it even more beautiful because it opens a big space for the teams that don’t normally win trophies.
‘Two of the big teams will be out, in the quarter-final you will have only City or Chelsea, and Arsenal or Liverpool. The six other teams have a huge opportunity to go to Wembley. The draw puts things in a way where the final can be unexpected, and that’s the beauty of the cup.’
Roy Hodgson, the England manager, said this week John Terry will not return to play for England at this summer’s World Cup. Mourinho praised Hodgson for the clear and decisive nature of the decision, and the Portuguese also addressed Arsene Wenger’s words today (Friday) about why managers rule themselves out of a title race due to a ‘fear to fail’.
‘He is a specialist in failure. I’m not. If supposedly he is right and I’m afraid of failure it’s because I don’t fail many times. Maybe he’s right.
‘The reality is that he’s a specialist because eight years without a piece of silverware is failure. If I do that at Chelsea, eight years, I leave London and I don’t come back.’