The Pensioners are enduring a miserable start to the season, and will be hoping that their fortunes improve against the Israeli champions—arguably one of the weakest teams in this year’s competition.
However, the Blues will be taking nothing for granted following their recent struggles in the Premier League.
Mourinho’s side have only managed one victory in their opening five matches, and only secured a 2-2 draw with Swansea City, before falling to defeats against Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Everton.
Ahead of Chelsea’s first Champions League match of the 2015-16 season, Xavi—who left Barcelona earlier this year as a four-time European Cup winner—has admitted that he isn’t impressed with Mourinho’s style of play.
However, the deep-lying playmaker has conceded that he respects the Portuguese coach.
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“I respect him a lot although I don’t agree with his way of playing. He helped me a great deal in the three years he was at Barcelona. At that time we spoke the same language and believed in the same things,” Xavi began, speaking to Marca, as per the Daily Mail.
“He came to the Barca B team and he coached us and worked with us according to the Barca philosophy. Now he looks on another path – winning above all else. That is not our way of doing things. But I respect him and we have said hello to each other at various Ballon d’Or ceremonies.”
While Mourinho may not change his style and approach for the Blues clash with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he has certainly opted to shuffle his pack, making extensive changes to his starting XI.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 16, 2015
Abdul Rahman Baba has been handed his debut, and will start at left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta switched to right-back at the expense of Branislav Ivanovic.
Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill start in the heart of the defence, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek partners Cesc Fabregas in the heart of the park.
Loic Remy leads the line, supported by Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian.