Jose Mourinho feels a responsibility for Chelsea to perform at their ruthless best – perhaps in contrast to the rested Liverpool side that fell 1-0 to Real Madrid – in Wednesday night’s Champions League Group G clash at Maribor in an ominous warning to his hosts.
Mourinho insists he would never select a weakened team in anticipation of defeat, in a slight made towards Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers rested key personnel – including captain Steven Gerrard and playmaker Raheem Sterling – in losing 1-0 at European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday, but the Northern Irishman denied he was forfeiting the match.
Mourinho, whose side play at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime, said: “If Liverpool decide to rest players when they play against the European champions, it’s a question for the Liverpool manager – it’s not a question for me.
“I don’t speak about Liverpool. I speak about myself. If one day I go to a game and I don’t feel I can win, maybe I don’t go.
“Normally, against the most difficult opponents, normally I will try to go with my best team.”
Mourinho’s club beat the Slovenian champions 6-0 two weeks ago and know victory could seal their place in the last 16 with two games to spare, depending on the result between Sporting Lisbon and Schalke.
“I like this concept of going with a big club, full of big players to a country, a stadium, a city where normally they don’t come,” Mourinho said.
“To come here, to play here, I think we have responsibility to play for us and also to play for the people.
“I know they want to win – they don’t want us to win – but to play for the people is to play well, and to show what we can do, to show the quality players we have, to show the quality team we have.”
Mourinho, who is without striker Loic Remy (groin) and midfielder John Obi Mikel (knee), is taking nothing for granted against Maribor and described the Stamford Bridge result as “fake”.
He said: “The 6-0 win is a fake situation. Normally Chelsea to score goals needs a lot (of chances).
“Everything went in our direction. The first opportunity we had was a goal, the second one a goal, and so on.
“(But) I know they are a good team. I analysed them against Sporting and Schalke.
“I need to convince the players that the game at Stamford Bridge was one of these matches where everything goes in our direction.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho has admitted his criticism of Chelsea’s home support may have gone too far but was an emotional response tied to his affection for the club.
The manager said it felt like Chelsea were playing in an “empty stadium” for the first half-hour of last Saturday’s 2-1 win over QPR.
Supporters have responded in varying degrees of anger, bemusement and frustration – as well as agreement – to Mourinho’s jibe.
“This is not, for me, just a job. It it more than that, because it’s Chelsea,” Mourinho added.
“Maybe I go a little bit too far. But I see myself in the stands, watching Chelsea and I want to play, I want to help.
“If I’m not a player, I cannot play. If I’m not a coach, I cannot make decisions.
“If I’m just a fan, what can I do to help? That’s just my view.”
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