Jose Mourinho has insisted he will not abandon his plans to transform Chelsea’s playing style in a bid to produce an immediate end to their alarming early season dip.
The Chelsea manager accepts he must face criticism after four games without a win, including successive defeats by Everton and FC Basel in the London club’s last two outings.
Portuguese boss Mourinho reacted to those losses by highlighting the inexperience of some members of his squad.
However, speaking yesterday ahead of the visit of Fulham to Stamford Bridge for today’s west London derby, he maintained he had been charged by club owner Roman Abramovich with changing the team’s approach.
And Mourinho was adamant he would not alter that agenda in an effort to provide an immediate upturn in results.
“When you want to build something different than the players are adapted to and comfortable with, it’s more difficult,” he told reporters at Chelsea’s training ground.
“The easiest thing is for a manager to arrive in a club and not to change, to go in the same direction. Or to keep something and buy a couple of players better than what he had previously,” Mourinho said. “Everything is going in the same direction, but if you want to do something different, there is a period where — I understand that, if the results are not good, people will question the direction you go — but it’s up to me to determine the direction we’re going.”
“If people expect us to play against Fulham — because we need to win, we need a victory — and play with a low block, nine behind the ball, waiting for Fulham to make a mistake, score a goal on the counter-attack, then I’m not going in that direction,” he said.
Mourinho, now in his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, insisted the time to evaluate his return to Chelsea would be at the end of the campaign when the season’s work can be compared with the efforts of his immediate predecessors.
“I don’t like the way Chelsea were playing in the last couple of years,” he said. “The club doesn’t like it. We want to change. We have the players with the profile to change. We want to play a different style.”
“I don’t want to defend as a low block. I don’t want central defenders playing in midfield. I don’t want long balls to a lonely striker. I don’t want to do that,” the Portuguese said.
“I agree, we must have better results. I agree that at this level, some clubs won’t wait three, four, five years to have a team, so we have to accelerate the process, but I’m not going to change,” he said. “We want this team to play a certain way, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“The first thing I have to say is that we lost nothing... We didn’t finish third in the Champions League group. We didn’t get relegated to the Europa League, and we didn’t finish third in the Premier League. We lost one match in the Premier League,” Mourinho said.
The manager also admitted he is still working to establish his best line-up as he attempts to adapt the club’s players into his preferred system.
“Some players, with their performances, say to me: this is my place. Don’t touch me. This is the way I play,” he said.
“Some other players don’t perform in a way where they can take doubts out of me,” Mourinho said. “For some positions, I would say no doubts this player in this moment is first-choice. In other positions, I need more information to decide well.”