Mourinho calls for quick backlash against Schalke

Mourinho calls for quick backlash against Schalke

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Mourinho calls for quick backlash against Schalke

Portuguese manager Mourinho says today’s game is crucial.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has called for an immediate response from his players against Schalke in the Champions League tomorrow following their unscheduled defeat at Newcastle United.

The Europa League champions appeared to be gathering momentum after winning all six of their matches in all competitions in October, only to slump to a 2-0 loss at St James’ Park in the Premier League on Nov. 2.

Tonight the Blues will be bidding to repair their home record in European competition, having seen a 29-game unbeaten run in the Champions League group phase ended by Basel in their opening Group E fixture. 

Their subsequent victories away to Steaua Bucharest (4-0) and Schalke (3-0) took them to the top of the pool, but another setback at Stamford Bridge would compromise their chances of reaching the last 16.

“We are in a stable position to qualify in the Champions League, but if we lose again we are in a difficult position,” Mourinho told the Chelsea website. “So Wednesday is an important game for us.” Mourinho has vowed to shake up his starting XI, having been critical of his players’ application after the defeat at Newcastle.

Andre Schürrle, Willian and Samuel Eto’o will all hope to start after coming on from the bench against Alan Pardew’s side, while Juan Mata’s place once again looks at risk after he was hooked in the 62nd minute.

“I will make changes. Not 11 changes because that would be too much, but changes for sure,” said Mourinho.

“I don’t know my best team because we have this kind of performance (against Newcastle).

“I know basically which is my best team, but it depends on the way we perform because performances and results push you for decisions.” 

Mourinho can at least console himself that, with the exception of long-term knee injury victim Marco van Ginkel, he has a full complement of players to choose from.

The same cannot be said of his Schalke counterpart Jens Keller, whose injury-ravaged squad have been unable to keep pace in the Bundesliga this season.

Schalke won 2-0 away to Hertha Berlin on Nov. 2, but they are languishing in sixth place after losing four of their opening 11 games.