Chelsea FC manager Jos Mourinho cited several statistics to suggest that his team has been improving in recent games and insisted he remains optimistic ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League Group G finale against FC Porto
Chelsea’s struggles in the Premier League have largely not been reflected in the Champions League, with the Blues level on points with group-leaders FC Porto, needing a win or a draw on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge to go through to the knock-out stages of the competition.
Manager Jos Mourinho suggested that the Blues would aim to win the Champions League rather than drop down to try and win the Europa League, even though the former would be significantly more difficult to win. The Portuguese also cited several statistics to suggest that his team has been working harder than ever, but has not managed to put the finishing touch and reap the rewards of their hard work.
Mourinho prefers fighting for the Champions League
When asked whether Chelsea would be better off competing in the Europa League — arguably their best chance of Champions League qualification for next season — Mourinho responded in the negative, insisting that he wanted to face the biggest teams in Europe’s premier club competition.
Mourinho is quoted by the official club website as saying: “I know at the moment it looks like winning the Europa League is an easier way to be in the Champions League next season than to finish in the top four [of the Premier League], but there is another possibility which is to win the Champions League.
“It is obviously harder than winning the Europa League but it is the competition where we are. We want to play in the Champions League and play the best teams, and for that we need to win tomorrow.”
Statistics show Chelsea are improving
Addressing the media at his pre-match press conference, Mourinho also indicated that he remained optimistic because of the team’s effort in training and desire to turn things around.
“I feel sometimes a contradiction between the quality of the work and what happens on the pitch but I am always an optimist, especially because I feel that the players want to do it,” Mourinho said.
“Statistics are statistics but if you analyse the numbers and read them well you can get some information. Match after match we beat Chelsea records for intensity of work. In the last three matches we beat the record three times, so we run and work more than ever. It is an intensity we never had before.
“Our levels of ball possession are much higher too and our changes are higher than ever. Our number of goals are lower than ever. So intelligent people can read the numbers and get some conclusions.”