Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is determined to get a win against Steaua Bucharest in their final Champions League group game regardless of its impact on the final standings. Having already secured their place in the knockout phase, Chelsea need a victory against the Romanian champions in order to be sure of top spot. But after suffering a defeat last time out against Basel and also losing in the Premier League at the weekend at Stoke City, Mourinho is keen to get back to winning ways.
“We have to win, not just to finish first but to have the good feeling to win at home and finish with 12 points,” he said, according to UEFA.com. “If you told me now that tomorrow we finish first with one point because of the other result I don't want it. I want to have the feeling of winning the game tomorrow.”
Chelsea will top the group and, in theory, secure a more favorable draw in the Round of 16, even with a draw if Basel fail to get a victory in Schalke. However, despite his determination to get a win, Mourinho stated that he will look to alter his side from the weekend, with a match at home to Crystal Palace to come on Saturday.
“I'm not going to play the same team as I did in the last match,” he said. “I'm going to give a little rest to a couple of players, or three players. We have an important match on Saturday and we play a quarter-final next Tuesday. “I don't want to call it rotation because normally when you say rotate it comes with an idea that the team is weak but that's not the case.”
One man that will definitely come into the side is Ashley Cole. The left-back has been missing for five matches as Cesar Azpilicueta has taken his place, despite playing out of position. Samuel Eto’o may also play in place of Fernando Torres, while Kevin de Bruyne could get a first start since October.
For Steaua, there is nothing to play for but pride, having recorded three draws and two defeats from their five matches so far. Draws have also been a problem domestically, where Steaua have recorded three straight ties in the league, to fall six points off the top, albeit with games in hand. But despite admitting that the focus is now on retaining their league title, coach Laurentiu Reghecampf says he wants his team to make a good impression.
“Often when you have no pressure there can be a bit of a danger in that you can relax -- but I think my players have understood this and I am sure they have taken it into consideration and will give a good account of themselves,” he explained. “I know Chelsea very well and I can only say I hope my players have a very good game tomorrow.
“It is a pity we are in this situation. Initially I was hoping this would be an important game where we had the chance to qualify for the next round or the Europa League, but of course now the priority is the domestic league – that is not to say we will not give everything tomorrow though.”
Where to watch: The Champions League Group E clash will kick off from Stamford Bridge at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Soccer Plus, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.