Over the course of the next five days, we face crucial matches in both the Barclays Premier League and Champions League, and Jose Mourinho has been speaking about trying to balance team selection with so much at stake in the two games.
First up for the Blues, tomorrow afternoon, is a trip to Anfield, where Mourinho’s side will attempt to reduce the five-point gap which currently exists between the two sides. We then play the second leg of our Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, with the tie delicately poised, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
A combination of injuries and suspensions has already deprived the manager of certain players within his squad, and with the Champions League now our main priority, he simply cannot afford to lose any more players ahead of the meeting with Atletico.
‘I lost the goalkeeper, John Terry, Hazard, Mikel, Lampard,’ he said. ‘Do you think if I lose one more player I have any chance to try to play in the Champions League final? I don’t think we have a chance. I can’t lose more players, especially in some positions, because I don’t have them.
‘Eto’o has a minor problem in his knee and he’s not ready. With Petr Cech, I suppose his season is over. They are analysing the situation but it looks like he will need surgery.
‘The priority is the Champions League because if we win two matches we win it. I have to defend Chelsea.
‘In the attacking areas we have Torres, Demba, Schurrle Oscar Willian, Salah. If you lose one you have another one, but there are positions where if you lose one you don’t have any more, I just don’t have them.’
With Chelsea the sole British representatives at the semi-final stage in Europe for the third consecutive season, Mourinho believes more should be done to assist our quest for success, highlighting the way in which Spain, in particular, look after their teams involved in European competition.
‘Real were given the option not to play and they didn’t play before Bayern,’ said the Portuguese.
‘Atletico played on the Friday against Elche and this weekend, luckily for us, they play against Valencia (on Sunday) and they have no chance to change the game.
‘If, next season, Chelea play against an English team that are playing a Champions League semi-final two or three days later, Chelsea will accept to play the game one or two days before to give the English team more chance, because at that time we would be protecting English football without creating any problems for Chelsea Football Club.’
As his first season back in English football edges towards its conclusion, however, Mourinho’s love for the game on these shores shows no signs of diminishing
‘I love it,’ he said. ‘English football is the fans, the stadiums, the yellow ball in the winter, the white ball in the summer.
‘It’s the FA Cup final with Hull City, the FA Cup semi-finals with Sheffield United and Wigan, all of that is English football and I love English football.’
Host Jason Cundy will be joined in the studio by former Blues Graham Stuart and Tommy Langley for Wherever They May Be, from 1pm on Chelsea TV. The trio will bring you all the pre-match build-up, breaking team news and exclusive interviews with Jose Mourinho and a player.