Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho feels Terry, Lampard and Cole still has a lot to give and dismissed speculations regarding the future of David Luiz.
Chelsea host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge tonight as they look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League. The Blues faced a disappointing 3-2 defeat at the hands of Stoke City in their last game, which was their third League defeat of the season. Their away form has been disappointing this season so far and the London club have managed to win only three of their eight matches on the road. But it has been a different story at Stamford Bridge, where they have remained undefeated and have won seven of their eight matches so far at home.
Jose Mourinho’s men are currently third in the league table – five points behind league leaders Arsenal. They have a wonderful opportunity to close that gap as their London rivals face Manchester City, whereas Liverpool comes up against Tottenham. Chelsea will travel to Arsenal in their next game and this match could provide a good cushion for them heading into that fixture. They are coming into this game on the back of a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucuresti in their last group stage fixture of the Champions League. That win has enabled them to win the group ahead of Schalke and will certainly help them in getting an easier draw in the next round.
Mourinho faced questions regarding the future of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole ahead of the game. The trio’s contract will expire this summer, but Mourinho insisted that the ‘trust’ between the club and players is the most important factor. He wants these veterans to enjoy their games as they head into the closing stages of their careers, without being too concerned about their future.
“It is a situation that doesn’t worry me, doesn’t worry the club and I think it doesn’t worry the players.
“We want them to play this season, we want them to show that they can still make an important contribution to the team and we want them not to be worried. We want them to feel free to express themselves and to enjoy these last years of their careers.
“At the same time they also want us not to be worried.
“We know that even being at the end of their contracts they want to stay here, so they are not looking to other clubs, they won’t make a surprise for us in January. It is trust, it is a relationship, it is a stable situation.” – The Chelsea manager said.
The Portuguese mastermind also felt that everything will be sorted at the end of the season and feels that these players still have an important role to play at the club, like Ryan Giggs does for Manchester United.
“Everything is very calm. Probably last season was more complicated. John Terry was not playing, Frank Lampard was almost signing a contract with LA Galaxy and he was also not feeling important in the team, and feeling important is not about playing every game, it is about other things.
“At the moment the situation is very clear. They trust the club, we trust the players and for sure, without conflict, the best decision for us and for them will be taken.
“They are showing they have more to give. The players more than in any other place speak on the pitch, and when they speak on the pitch you can listen, or you can see it.
“Is Ryan Giggs the same player he was 10 years ago? I don’t think he is. Is he a top player? Yes he is. Is he important in Man United? Yes. Is he respected there? Yes. Has he a five-year contract as a player? No, and no problems.
“These Chelsea players don’t have to be told they are important and have a role to play. I think they feel it, no doubts!” – Mourinho explained.
The Chelsea manager also felt that this is going to be as tough period for them as they face the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Southampton, while they also face Sunderland in the League Cup.
“I think it’s very difficult to predict the way things are going. One thing is if we beat Arsenal, another is if they beat us. We can close the gap but they can open the gap, and for the teams behind us it’s the same.
“This weekend Tottenham play Liverpool so somebody loses points. We play Arsenal and somebody loses points, Arsenal play City and somebody loses points. We have to wait and see but five points is a gap which is not a drama. We have to make sure that gap doesn’t open. Five points is a gap which, in one week, with two matches, everything can change. When it goes to eight, nine or 10 it becomes more difficult.
“Let’s see if after Christmas we can say instead of six teams it’s five. Maybe one team drops back or maybe one goes so far ahead they are impossible to reach. Between City and Chelsea we have a chance to make the Premier League even more interesting than it is already.
“We have difficult matches, tomorrow is a derby, Sunderland is a quarter-final, Swansea and Liverpool are important opponents at home, Arsenal are the leaders, on the first of January it’s Southampton, one of the big surprise in the competition, so the schedule is tough and we have to try to be strong.” – He added.
Mourinho also dismissed questions regarding the future of David Luiz and praised his performance on his return from injury in the midweek Champions League clash.
“It was the performance of a player who has been out for a long time, not perfect but a good one, with no problems,’ explained the Portuguese. ‘For the first match after being away from the team for so long, and after only training with the team for two or three days before the game it was okay.
“His future is that he has a long term contract, there has been no contact from other clubs, so at this moment everything is clear. He’s our player, we are so happy he’s back, especially at a moment Cahill isn’t playing so we need him and John to play a second game in a row.” – Mourinho insisted.
He also felt that Crystal Palace have done well recently and are in contention for survival, which means they will provide a tough fixture for Chelsea.
“They’ve been fantastic. Six points in two matches, they were bottom of the league and suddenly they are there, now they smell all the others and they are in contact with the other teams fighting relegation.
“Do they play beautiful football? That’s another question. Do they try to play a certain style? That’s another question, but the main question for them is to stay in the Premier League. They need points, they are playing for points and they are going to give us a difficult match in their style.” – The Chelsea manager said.
Mourinho also defended his strikers who have failed to find the back of the net regularly this season. He is disappointed with the lack of goals upfront, but has lauded their overall contribution to the side.
“Some strikers are players with fantastic individual qualities and they can do on their own what their team is not able to do. The world has a lot of examples, teams that are not playing especially well, teams that, as a team, they are not better than their opponents but they have individual players that can be the solution.
“Our strikers are not individual players, they are more in the team organisation and in the team dynamic, they do other jobs, that’s why I’m not critical of them.
“The number of goals of course is quite frustrating, not just for me but for them, but their contribution is good. The other guys who have been scoring, Hazard with six, Lampard with four, Schurrle with three, it’s because of the work our strikers do.
“The other guys play with their strengths, which is super individual quality, the dribble, shot or sharp movement, so by themselves they resolve problems. We don’t have this kind of striker and we have to be organised in a different way.
“Do I expect them to score a bit more? Yes. Do we need a bit more? Yes, but we can’t compare players with different qualities.” – He said.