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Chelsea woes: I'm not the only to be blamed, Mourinho insists

By The Rainbow
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Jose Mourinho did not want to contemplate the ”if.”

The repercussions if Chelsea is embarrassingly eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday. Yet, the manager still ensured he delivered a blunt message to Roman Abramovich just in case the owner was thinking about firing him.

”You can look in many directions and you can decide that this is not a one-man responsibility,” Mourinho said Tuesday.

”I think I did lots of good things in this club for the owner knows the quality I have,” he added. ”I don’t think the owner is a person to change with the wind … the owner knows I am the right person to do the job.”

Such self-assurance belies the parlous state of Mourinho’s team and the pressure on the Portuguese.

Domestically, the Premier League champions have been reeling from setback after setback. The latest humiliation came on Saturday with an eighth loss in 15 league games at home to Bournemouth.

In the Champions League, Chelsea made a faltering start in Group G before staging a recovery. After losing the opener to Porto in September, Chelsea hosts Mourinho’s former team on Wednesday. Win or draw and Chelsea advances to the round of 16. But Chelsea would drop into the Europa League if it loses to Porto and Dynamo Kiev beats Maccabi Tel Aviv, which has no points from five games.

”You are a pessimistic guy, I am an optimistic guy,” Mourinho said at a news conference at Chelsea’s training ground. ”There are no ifs.”

Winning either of Europe’s club competitions could be Chelsea’s only way of qualifying for the Champions League next season, given that Mourinho’s side is 14th in the Premier League and 14 points from the top four.

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, left, leads his players during a training session at Cobham training  …

Mourinho portrays the worst spell of his managerial career – which included his first Chelsea reign from 2004 to 2007 – as stimulating rather than disheartening.

”As a manager it makes me better because it is the first time for me,” Mourinho said. ”It is a new experience. It’s something I am not used to … when you win all the time and you have always happiness with the results it is a wonderful life.

”When you have bad results it’s more difficult. I found myself really strong. It’s a good experience.”

Here are other talking points going into Wednesday’s Group G games:


EUROPEAN RELEGATION
”It is not good for a big club to go there and win it,” Mourinho said of the Europa League earlier this year.

The Europa League trophy won by Chelsea just before Mourinho returned to the west London club in June 2013 is seen by the manager as a stain on the club. A symbol of the club’s deficiencies in the 2012-13 when Rafa Benitez was mostly in charge.

But by Wednesday night, Mourinho might have to face up to relegation to the Europa League by finishing third.

”I was always against the teams that were knocked out of the Champions League going into the Europa League because I think there is a such a different level of competition that I didn’t think it’s fair for the teams in the Europa League to do the group phase then in February get the teams that were knocked out of the Champions League,” Mourinho said.


FAN BAN
Dynamo Kiev is bidding to reach the Champions League last 16 for the first time in 16 years, but it will have to do it in an empty stadium. That is part of Dynamo’s punishment for a series of racist attacks on black fans during a 0-0 draw against Chelsea in October.

If Dynamo reaches the knockout stages, its first home game there too must be played behind closed doors. Dynamo must win to qualify and could top the group if Chelsea and Porto draw in the other game. Failure to win against Maccabi Tel Aviv would mean a third-placed finish and a trip to the Europa League for Dynamo.

The Ukrainian champions go into the game having won their last five games in all competitions since a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

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