Stunning comments by Chelsea boss José Mourinho on Friday as he admitted for the first time that he “cannot promise” to secure Champions League qualification this season following Chelsea’s worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.
The champions go into Saturday’s must-win game against Liverpool in 15th place in the table after one win in their last four league matches. Chelsea are currently 11 points behind leaders Manchester City and nine points away from the final Champions League place. top four.
Mourinho stressed the only way his team will remove themselves from the season long slump they are in will be through “working, working.” Yet, having been adamant up to now that his players would recover their poise to finish in the top four, the Portuguese was more guarded on Friday when asked about Champions League qualification.
“I cannot promise,” he said before highlighting the inability of other ‘elite’ English clubs in recent years to reach Europe’s top competition.
“Chelsea is a big club,” he said. “It’s the club I chose to come to. A club I live in a very specific way, with respect. Liverpool is a big club. Man United is a super big club. Last season Liverpool won nothing and didn’t qualify for the Champions League, and they are still a big club. Two years ago United didn’t qualify for the Champions League, not even the Europa League, and won nothing, and they are still a monster club. That is football.”
I wonder if Blues owner Roman Abramovich shares the same view on European football next season as his manager does?
Credit Mourinho though for being honest in the assessment of his team. They are not playing well and he is searching for answers on how to turn their season around. From his comments, he is not sure that he and the team can do that.
Worrying times for the Blues but a win against an injury ravaged Liverpool on Saturday followed by a win in the Champions League next week, and the headlines will be much more positive for Mourinho and Chelsea. Lose them both and the “Special One” will be the unemployed one.