Football

Fear drives Jose 
to park the bus

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that he got his team to adopt a defensive style because he was afraid of falling out of the top four.

The Blues need only one point from their two remaining matches to ensure automatic qualification for next season's Champions League.

They host Norwich tonight before visiting struggling Cardiff next Sunday.

The self-proclaimed Special One had earlier in the campaign spoken of Chelsea being more expressive before reverting to a more conservative style which made them hard to beat.

Mourinho's men have a slim title chance - relying on Manchester City and Liverpool slipping up - but may not be in the top four had it not been for the tactical adjustment.

"I knew what I was doing," insisted Mourinho, who was criticised for his "parking-the-bus" strategy in the wake of last Sunday's 2-0 win at Anfield.

"We are still in a position, mathematically, to win the Premier League and, in the Champions League, we reached the semi-finals and we had one foot in the final.

"There are moments when you have to go for the strategical point of view if you want to have a chance to compete for what we compete.

"At a certain moment, if you don't go for a bit more stability and a bit less development of a certain philosophy, it's a big risk.

"I made the decision to stop that evolution in the style and philosophy of play and I went in the direction where I felt it was the only way that, with these players, we could get results.

"It's not a cup. I don't want to get a bonus for finishing in the top four, no way, no way; the moment I think like that, I'm in trouble.

"(But) there was a moment that I felt this Premier League was so dangerous, there was the big risk for every one of the big teams to be out of the top four."

The Portuguese made no apology for recent displays, pointing to the inability of free-scoring Liverpool's strikeforce of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to break through his side and the fact that Diego Costa - a man coveted by Chelsea - scored only a penalty in two games for Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea are targeting a prolific striker this summer, with a deal for Costa reportedly close, and will recover their more attractive style, which was visible earlier this season.

NO KILLER-INSTINCT

"Don't forget, we had lots of matches, and long periods this season where we produced fantastic football, even away from home, but we weren't the killer profile," Mourinho added.

"At Everton (in September), we should have been 5-0 up at half-time, but we were 1-0 down.

"We build certain bases that we need to recover in the beginning of next season, especially when we have this little, little transformation and improvement in our squad that we need.

"Next season, hopefully, I can finally have the feeling of 'okay, we are going to try (to win the title) and we really feel we can'.

"But, even so, the next summer I think we're going to feel the danger of (missing out on) the top four.

"The difference between being champions and outside the top four is small."

- PA Sport.


if you don’t go for a bit more stability and a bit less development of a certain philosophy, it’s a big risk.

— Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on why he adopted defensive tactics