London - Jose Mourinho is confident his absence from the Britannia Stadium will not affect his Chelsea side as they attempt to halt their disastrous run of Premier League form at Stoke City.
The Chelsea manager will be missing while he serves a one-match stadium ban imposed following his clash with referee Jon Moss during the Blues' recent defeat at London rivals West Ham United.
That loss increased the pressure on the Portuguese boss although the midweek Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev brought some respite for Mourinho, whose position has been placed under intense scrutiny.
The Kiev win came after Mourinho and Chelsea captain John Terry were forced to deny reports the manager had lost the backing of his squad.
Mourinho hopes his players will once again demonstrate their support by clinching victory over Mark Hughes' side and ending a run of one win in the last five domestic league games that has left the reigning Premier League champions languishing in 15th place.
"I think they (the players) will know I am with them," said Mourinho.
"They know I am going to prepare the team until the moment they go to the game.
"They know that during the game the action of the manager is not so crucial and I think the fact they know why I am not on the bench is also important for the group."
Mourinho maintains his side's performances are improving but with the club in its current position, results are all that matter and the relief felt after Willian's late free-kick secured victory over Kiev was tangible.
And the Brazil midfielder echoed his manager's view, insisting that belief within the squad growing stronger.
"Confidence is coming for us and the results are coming as well. We have to keep going and keep fighting on the pitch," Willian said.
"We lost some games and it's been difficult for us but we are trying to play better. We know we have to improve more and keep going in the same way."