Despite winning the league in a canter this season, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says that he still needs to add some fresh faces to his squad ahead of next season.
Mourinho’s champions finished eight points ahead of last season’s winners Manchester City after leading the title race from start to finish, with the Portuguese tactician already turning his thoughts to his next challenges.
Speaking in Bangkok as Chelsea arrived for a postseason tour, Mourinho hinted that he would not look to make big changes to his squad and stressed that any new arrivals would not be signed to replace his current star names.
“We like the players, we’re happy with them,” Mourinho said, in quoted reported by the Evening Standard. “Two or three are always coming to the club, that’s normal, but if you come to a champion team you are not a big name. The big names are the champions.
“How can I find a better striker than Diego Costa? A better midfielder than Nemanja Matic? A better right-back than Branislav Ivanovic?
“Our squad was very good. We didn’t have many injuries. We had three players who played 38 matches in the Premier League.
“The most important thing in the market is not to lose players. The players I am looking for are my players, the players I want to keep. Last season I had players I wanted to sell. We have started building a team for the next decade. This season was the beginning of that.”
Mourinho said he expects a stronger challenge from his domestic rivals next season, while he is also targeting a sustained push for success in the Champions League after his side went out at the last-16 stage to Paris Saint-Germain this season.
“We will have to be better next season than this season,” Mourinho added. “If we think that’s enough we will be in a difficult situation.
“All the big clubs are not happy and will try to react. Other teams will improve, invest, and not accept Chelsea are champions like this season with three matches to go.
“We are the team everybody wants to beat. Nobody is better than us. We are the best team in the country. The league is so competitive so we need to start with the same motivation and desire as we did at the beginning of this season.
“At the same time we also have to try to do better in the Champions League. This season we went out without losing a match but obviously we will try to do better in European football.”
Chelsea do have some holes that Mourinho needs to address. John Terry will not go on for ever, Nemanja Matić probably needs some help in the bog European games, and Chelsea need another striker to support Diego Costa.
What will be interesting is how many squad positions, Mourinho fills with members of Chelsea’s youth team? Chelsea have won the FA Youth Cup in four of the last six seasons and by all accounts they have a collection of the best young talent at their academy in England. But nobody from the academy has became a first-team regular since John Terry made his first team debut in 1998.