Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will be making changes to his side for Wednesday’s match with Schalke, having repeated the criticisms of his team’s performance in their 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United at the weekend.
Mourinho pulled no punches following the loss at St James’ Park, which snapped a six-match winning streak in all competitions. The Portuguese manager said pointedly that he made “11 mistakes,” referring to his team selection, and his disappointment has not lessened in the intervening days.
“'I don't change my opinion, “he said, according to Chelsea’s official website. “Of course the result could have been different, we could have scored when it was 0-0, we hit the post twice, and immediately after the first goal Eto'o had a shot, Willian had a shot and [Andre] Schurrle at the far post, we had situations. But I don't want my team to be reactive, this is not the philosophy we are working on, and I'm not happy with the way we played that match, it's as simple as that.
“My teams can lose matches, they always have, they have never been unbeatable, Chelsea are the same, but there is losing because the opponent was better than you, or because you were unlucky, like at Goodison Park, and there is losing because you were not the team with the ambition and determination we wanted to be, that's why I was disappointed.”
In stating that he will alter his lineup for the visit of Schalke to Stamford Bridge, Mourinho was quick to point out that the changes would not be as a punishment to those dropped but simply doing what was best to get a result.
“I don't want people to see the changes I make tomorrow as though someone's paying for the defeat at Newcastle because that's not the case,” he added. “I read a game once, twice, or three times and how players performed, and after that you have to make changes, not to punish people, completely far from it, but to try to get the best team to win the game.”
One enforced switch will come up front, where Fernando Torres will miss out through injury. Torres scored twice as Chelsea won 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen two weeks ago to move level on points with Schalke at the top of Group E. With Basel just two points back and hosting the group’s bottom club Steaua Bucharest in the night’s other game, there is little margin for error for either Chelsea or Schalke at Stamford Bridge.
“Of course it's very important -- we haven't won yet against the 'big boys' and we know we have a very important game ahead of us here,” Schalke coach Jens Keller said, according to UEFA.com. “We're not here just to be visitors; we know we need to take something from the game.”
Keller remains without Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, Marco Hoger and Chinedu Obasi through injury. There is better news, with Kyriakos Papadopoulos having made the trip to London after a long absence with a knee injury. The Greek defender is unlikely to feature, however.
D: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
M: Ramires, Mikel
Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard
D: Uchida, Matip, Howedes, Fuchs
M: Neustadter, Aogo
Boateng, Meyer, Draxler
Where to watch: The Champions League Group E match will get underway at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Soccer Plus, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.