English Premiership

Lifeline for Chelsea old guard

2013-06-10 21:00
Jose Mourinho (AFP)
London - Jose Mourinho's first task on his Chelsea return is to get to know the players he has inherited and to give them all a fair chance to succeed under him, the Portuguese manager said on Monday.

Since his Stamford Bridge comeback was rubber-stamped last week, there has been a barrage of media speculation on the futures of John Terry, Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Juan Mata among others.

"I have to start working with the players, even those I've already worked with," Mourinho told reporters after going back to the London club he first managed from 2004 to 2007. "Time changes people, changes players, changes qualities.

"Even that group of five or six boys from my time here before, I need to meet them again. The others? I think I know them because I watch them on TV 20 times every season, minimum, but I don't know them.

"That's the first part of this job. It's not to arrive and say, 'Mr Abramovich and members of the board, I need some more money with a lot of zeros, I need to change half the team, move this one and buy that one'," added Mourinho.

"No, I need to work with the players and not commit injustice. I need to give them a chance, be fair with them. After that we'll have time to make decisions."

Captain Terry was relegated to fourth-choice centre half last season but Mourinho refused to criticise his predecessor, Chelsea's former interim manager Rafa Benitez.

"One of my good qualities - I also have some bad ones - is that I don't speak about a club when I leave it and when I arrive at one I don't like to comment on what happened before me," said the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto manager.

"For me, not one word about Benitez's decisions either on John or another player. What I can say is about the future and the future is to meet John in the first week of July and try to get the best out of him.

"I know what he can give. Let's try to make him a very important player that he couldn't be last season."

Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel all played under Mourinho in his first stint at Stamford Bridge but the Portuguese said none of them would be granted special treatment.

"It's important to tell you, not them because they know, there's no privileges for them," said the manager. "They know my nature, they don't have an advantage in relation to the others.

"We have ambitions to add a couple of new players to improve the squad, increase the competitiveness, but my biggest job at the moment is the all-round improvement of the squad.

"Chelsea have done very well to get some young boys in with great potential, with great ability, with great futures, and I look forward to trying to improve them," added Mourinho.

"I'm more than happy to follow this philosophy the club has. My area is the football area but more and more you have to be deeply connected with the other areas of a club and I think the club and I have the same kind of vision."

Mourinho has been involved in a series of on and off the field incidents during his career but he said he returns to Chelsea as a calmer, more mature individual.

"Football is an industry that demands a lot and you learn a lot every day," he added. "Back in 2000 when I was managing for the first time, I thought I knew everything.

"After 13 years you realise you knew nothing. At 50, I think I'm still very young as a manager and I think I am at the beginning of a new period.

"Do I have a different personality? For sure, no, but will I have a different approach and way of looking at things? I'm the same personality, I have the same nature, but a different perspective."

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