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Thursday 26 April 2018

Mourinho prepares 'braves' for battle

JOSE MOURINHO wants Chelsea to secure their Champions League progression at Basle tonight, before turning their focus on the hectic festive schedule which is "only for the braves".

Chelsea need a point to advance but a fourth straight win, following the opening loss at home to Basle, would secure top spot in Group E ahead of the final encounter with Steaua Bucharest on December 11.

In comments reminiscent of his first spell – when Mourinho sported a crew-cut and memorably stated "I am ready for the war" – the self-proclaimed Special One stated his desire to beat Basle and then focus on eight domestic fixtures in December.

"It's a period I like," said Mourinho, again sporting a short haircut.

"It's a period where I think only the braves can survive because it's hard.

"We go into the Christmas period and the accumulation of matches is so high, we don't do it as a normal thing, we do it as a special group with a special mentality, enjoying the situation.

"But we have the pleasure of playing a period that's only for the braves. I like that very, very much.

 

Motivation

"Nine matches and one of them is against Steaua. That's our motivation ... to try to kill the situation in the group phase and give us a little bit of space in December."

Fernando Torres is fit to return from an adductor injury which has seen him miss the last three matches, but defender David Luiz did not travel due to a knee problem.

John Obi Mikel was also not in favour at the start of the campaign, but he performed well in the 3-0 win against West Ham.

Mikel said: "The way we played on Saturday was exactly the way the manager wants us to play. You could say the real Chelsea is back."

And Mourinho insists the onus at St Jakob Park is on Basle.

"They are under pressure and we are not," Mourinho said.

BASLE v CHELSEA, SETANTA SPORTS 1/ SKY SPORTS 2, KO 7.45

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