Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he ratcheted up the pressure on his players ahead of their Champions League meeting with Steaua Bucharest in an effort to force them into maturity, the
The Blues recorded a 4-0 win in Romania, thanks to an own goal, a Ramires double and a late Frank Lampard effort, having lost against the same opposition last season in the Europa League – although Chelsea, then under interim manager Rafael Benitez, did win the second-leg en route to triumphing in the competition.
Mourinho however does not want to be competing in the Europa League, and used the prospect of the tournament as a motivating factor after Chelsea suffered defeat to Basel in their first Champions League outing. “I keep saying I don’t want to play Europa League, Mourinho revealed. “I put that pressure on them because we have to do everything we can to keep Chelsea playing in the Champions League because the Champions League is our competition.
“It’s the way they can grow up faster, to be faced with that pressure,” Mourinho added. “If I tell them because it’s a new team, I’m a new manager, a new style of football, then no problem we can finish 20 points behind in the Premier League and no one will care, or go into the Europa League because that’s fine for us, they won’t grow up.
“Sometimes you need big challenges, bigger than your conditions to succeed. They coped very well, so I’m happy, and we played very good football and were beautiful in attacking areas at times.”
Mourinho has won the Champions League on two previous occasions, first with Porto, shortly before taking the helm at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 2004, and then as Inter manager in 2010. Chelsea, meanwhile, claimed the trophy under Roberto Di Matteo in 2012.
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