Chelsea must avoid Europa League at all costs, insists Mourinho

first_img Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho 1 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has warned his high-flying side they must continue their impressive form against Schalke on Tuesday to ensure don’t slip down into the Europa League come the new year.The Blues sit top of the Premier League after 12 games and are unbeaten across all competitions so far this season.A Champions League victory in Germany will see Mourinho’s side book their place in the last-16, in a game which takes on extra significance as they prepare to face former player and manager Roberto Di Matteo – the only man to deliver the European Cup to Stamford Bridge.Mourinho has won the competition with Porto and Inter Milan but has been unable to lead Chelsea to the crown in either of his two spells in west London and the Portuguese was in no mood to talk about Di Matteo’s achievements in his press conference previewing the Schalke clash.Instead he focused on delivering a stark warning to his side, insisting they must not take their foot off the gas and believe they are cruising into the knockout stages.“I am not here to speak about Roberto Di Matteo, I am here to speak about the game tomorrow,” he said.“The reality is we need points. I think this team is one state of its evolution where to go into the Europa League would be very bad. A team gets better and the evolution is faster when you play in the best competition against the best teams.“Maybe we drop into Europa league. If we lose two matches we go into the Europa League. It makes no sense to talk about quarter-finals or anything else.“We need points to play in the Champions League and that is why we are here, we are here to get points.”Mourinho ridiculed the Europa League when it was won by his predecessor at Chelsea, Rafael Benitez, and it is clear he wants qualification to the knock-out stages sewn up at the earliest opportunity to avoid leading his team into Europe’s second-tier competition.“We have two matches, but obviously it would be better for us to qualify tomorrow,” he added.“We have so many matches in December that if we can avoid a crucial match against Sporting to decide Champions League qualification and that pressure, it would be very good for us.“The players are playing very well, the team is playing really well. Nothing comes for free, or with luck. Even the draws we’ve had were matches we were closer to win than to lose.“We missed a penalty at Maribor, and conceded a last-second goal against Man United. We are getting good results because the players are doing very well.”last_img

Published by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *