Mourinho believes Chelsea squad not big enough to compete this season
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says that his squad is not large enough to compete on both domestic and European fronts. Chelsea could end up being the only English team in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They also in the race to win the Premier League title, which would be their first since 2009.
Chelsea fans are used to this kind of a position towards the end of the season, but Mourinho says that his squad is right now not equipped to deal with it.
After deciding to sell the likes of Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne, and Michael Essien during the January transfer window, the squad that looked so strong in the summer may not be enough to even fill the bench if the blues suffered a couple of injuries. Speaking ahead of the Aston Villa match, Mourinho said:
“If you ask me can we go all the way Champions League and Premier League, I think it’s very difficult.
“Our squad are quite short [of players]. On top of that, two of our players cannot play in the Champions League —Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic — so it’s 20-2, so 18, minus Marco Van Ginkel [who has just returned from a serious knee injury] is 17.”
The key problems have come with the addition of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah – two players who are ineligible for the Champions League. Mourinho has always been stressing the fact that he would like to work only with a group of around 22 players.
However, the inability to field two first-team players for the Champions League knockout stages coupled with a long-term injury concern – Marco van Ginkel – makes the squad looks threadbare.
Mourinho will be unable to perform much rotation with a squad of 17 players. Of course, Matic and Salah are capable of being used in the Premier League. It would allow the likes of Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard rest ahead of crucial midweek Champions League matches.
Still, it is nowhere near enough the strength boasted by the likes of Manchester City, who could easily name two teams of international players.
Mourinho reckons that it will be ‘very, very difficult’ for the club to win the league and Champions League titles this season. He continued:
“To win the Champions League we have to beat Galatasaray and somebody in the quarter-finals and somebody in the semi-finals, and somebody in the final. And by somebody, I mean the best teams in the world. So I think both are very, very difficult. But let’s go match by match and see what happens.”