Chelsea v Steaua Bucharest: Champions League Preview
Jose Mourinho has vowed to stick with Chelsea’s attacking approach going into Wednesday’s Champions League Group E clash against Steaua Bucharest.
The Blues’ boss was left frustrated by his players on Saturday as they crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Stoke City in the Premier League which followed a 4-3 win at bottom club Sunderland in midweek.
It suggested that his defence is too open, but Mourinho insisted that several of the goals they have conceded of late have been unfortunate, while he also spoke out against his forwards for failing to “kill opponents” when they are on top in games.
We have to kill opponents. We have to score goals. We are also conceding goals defensively.
Therefore the Portuguese tactitian is refusing to press the panic button by making big changes to the way he sets his players out as Chelsea look for the win against the Romanian outfit at Stamford Bridge to ensure they finish in top spot in their group.
Mourinho said: “We have to kill opponents. We have to score goals. We are also conceding goals defensively.
“In this moment if you train defensive corners against the dummies, I think one dummy will score, because all the rebounds they go to the opponents.”
He added: “Am I going to change the style and play more defensive players? No. Am I going to play David Luiz in front of the central defenders? No.
“Am I going to play with four plus two and the wingers closing behind and leaving Fernando in attack waiting for a counter attack, waiting for a long ball to try to win 1-0? No.
“We go in the same direction.”
Mourinho has confirmed that left-back Ashley Cole will return to make his first appearance since picking up a rib injury at Newcastle on 2nd November and susbequently losing his place to Cesar Azpilicueta. John Terry is set to be handed a rest but Brazilian duo David Luiz and Oscar should start following their recovery from knee and ankle problems respectively.
Cole has not played for Chelsea since the loss at Newcastle on 2 November, suffering a rib injury and losing his place to right-back Cesar Azpilicueta. Marco van Ginkel is also out.
Chelsea have qualified for the knockout stages but need a win to guarantee top spot in their group.
Cole, 32, is out of contract at the end of this season but manager Jose Mourinho believes he will earn an extension to his deal. “Naturally he will get his contract because he’s a valuable player for us,” Mourinho said.
- Chelsea are through and a win on Wednesday over Steaua Bucharest, who are certain to finish bottom, would guarantee top spot.
- The winners of Basel’s trip to Schalke will go through alongside Chelsea, with the loser moving into the Europa League. A Basel win would put them top should Chelsea draw or lose, while a Schalke victory could see them win the group if the Blues lose.
Chelsea, who are 16/1 to win the Champions League, can be backed at 1/5 to defeat Steaua Bucharest. The Romanians are 16/1 to avenge their 4-0 home defeat against the Blues with an away-win in London, while the draw is13/2.