MOURINHO: BALANCING ACT

Jose Mourinho has spoken already this week about the players’ recovery from the significant physical exertions of Tuesday night into a good condition to face Swansea today, but the manager will be making sure the mental approach is spot on too.

A quick refocus on the Barclays Premier League campaign, which has five games to go, is needed with two of those games coming before we lock Champions League horns with Atletico Madrid. It is because he fully understands the pitfalls of mixing the two competitions together and has significant experience in such situations that Mourinho takes special care in preparing his squad.

‘It is always difficult,’ he acknowledges. ‘The teams involved in European competitions, they have it more difficult than the others. As an example, Swansea, they are not now in the Europa League but they were earlier on, so their season in the Premier League this season is different than it was last season. And probably Liverpool’s season next season will be different than this season too.

‘So when you are in the Champions League and you jump from one competition to another, it is not so easy.’

There is certainly no danger of any complacency creeping into the Chelsea approach today. Even though we go into the game off the back of two solid home victories in which five goals were scored without reply, our three visits so far to the Liberty Stadium have all ended in draws and although Mourinho has made it clear the defeat at Aston Villa last month must be considered in isolation due to the refereeing performance, we have won once in six away games.

Swansea have struggled against the upper-table sides this season but Mourinho still sees a threat, and an opponent that has not altered significantly in their tactics since Garry Monk took over from Michael Laudrup in February.

‘They have a philosophy, they have a way they play and the players are very much adapted to that style of play, so I don’t see many differences,’ says Mourinho.

‘The way they play and the strikers they have makes them a threat. Wilfried Bony is dangerous, Michu was out for a long, long time and he is also dangerous and now he is playing, and the wingers are fast.

‘The midfielders, they have a shot, all of them, and Jonathan De Guzman and Jonjo Shelvey can arrive in the box and shoot. They are a good team.’

There is a good chance the defence Mourinho will select to counter the Swansea strikers will be the same one he has selected for the last 11 games, a quite notable stability at the back from which the team can build.

‘It is not me, it is them, the way they play and the way they recover from match to match, they pick themselves,’ explains the manager.

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