Saturday, 8 August 2015

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has played down the possibility of dropping points at home to Swansea City despite a quiet transfer window so far

For Jose Mourinho, the "real football" begins on Saturday but he insists that failing to begin Chelsea's Premier League title defence with three points over Swansea City at Stamford Bridge would be no real disaster. "We care, but the reality is the first match I don't think has a consequence for the rest of the season," a relaxed Mourinho told reporters on Friday. "The only consequence is we lose points at home and maybe we're going to need these points at the end of the season but not psychologically, next week and in the next weeks."
All three of Mourinho's title-winning Chelsea sides opened their campaigns with victories and only three of the last 11 Premier League champions failed to beat their first opponents. Yet the Portuguese can reach for history of his own.
"I always hope I win tomorrow but, in the two seasons when I won the treble, with Porto [in 2002-03] and with Inter [in 2009-10], I didn't win the first match of the season," he added. "At the start of the two best seasons of my career I drew two matches at home to newly promoted teams but I want to start well, I want to win - that's normal."
Perhaps the calmness of Mourinho is borne out of a desire to lower the pressure on a Chelsea side who looked unquestionably sluggish in pre-season and, despite the protestations of their manager, were beaten fairly convincingly by an impressively intense Arsenal in Sunday's Community Shield.

But there is also the wider sense of a man more willing than ever before to take the long view, demonstrated most clearly by his decision to put pen to paper on a new four-year contract many months in the making. Mourinho has never lasted longer than three consecutive years at any club but he plans to remain at the top with Chelsea well into uncharted personal territory.
Retaining the Premier League is the first challenge and it must be achieved with much the same squad. Radamel Falcao has the pedigree but not yet the performances to cover for Diego Costa's fragile hamstrings and world-class recruits elsewhere were simply not available for the champions this summer.
Chelsea have suffered no worse than their domestic rivals on the transfer front; the highest-profile overseas import of the window is Bastian Schweinsteiger, a 31-year-old whom former boss Pep Guardiola claims has not been fit for three years. A philosophical Mourinho believes that this dearth of new star quality is a natural consequence of the Premier League's place in the football food chain.
"In a very objective way, English clubs can buy anyone around the world except from the three clubs that are economically more powerful than us," he argued.
"Only three clubs in the world have the power to say 'I don't sell': Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Is anyone in England interested in Thomas Muller? For sure. Can we - England - bring Thomas Muller from Bayern? I don't think so. Bayern have the power to say 'No way'. Anybody who wants [Lionel] Messi; can you bring him? I don't think so. These big stars are there and it’s not easy.
"The way is to bring players like [Sergio] Aguero when Manchester City brought him, [Eden] Hazard when Chelsea brought him, and try to be lucky and have an Alexis [Sanchez] that is not playing regularly in Barcelona. Try to go for these players that a couple of years later can reach such a high dimension that they become stars."
Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis have all forsaken the top of La Liga to become Premier League stars in recent years but Mourinho believes that Madrid and Barcelona will always deal from a position of unrivalled strength. "They sell when they want to sell," he continued. "When you see a player leaving one of these big clubs you have to think 'If he goes it's because they want him to go'."
But despite being frustrated in his attempts to infuse a champion squad with more elite talent, Mourinho feels that a quiet summer in the transfer market can be used to Chelsea's benefit.
"The biggest advantage, I hope, is for [the players] to think together: 'My club and my manager trust me so much, they were so loyal to me, they want to show me they have a good memory and don't forget easily what I did last year, they didn't spend lots of money, they don't kick me out. Now it's our time to give it back, to give my manager, my board and club a proper answer.'
"The most important thing is for them to give us what we deserve. They deserve our confidence but now is our time to deserve something back for that. The second thing is that the team has some routines, some tactical mechanisms that are based on stability.
"You don't need to buy 10 players to be a better team. We can be a better team with the same people."

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