Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has challenged his squad to illustrate their loyalty to the club by taking their performances up a gear in their title-defending campaign.
While Manchester United have indulged in another summer of heavy spending – securing five major acquisitions – as they aim to challenge for the Premier League trophy and return to the Champions League, the Blues have lured only a second-choice goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, and arguably a third-choice striker, Radamel Falcao, to Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has confessed that not significantly strengthening his side in the summer market is a ‘dangerous’ decision; however, he insists that it is down to the current crop of players to prove that splashing the cash is not key to sustained success.
“It’s dangerous. The saying is right, that ‘If you stand still you get worse,'” as quoted by the Daily Star.
“But the same people can move forward. You don’t have to buy ten players to be a better team. With one or two new players, you can be a better team with the same people.
“Is there a danger of not winning the league? Yes,” Mourinho confessed. “But it depends what you mean by going forward. Going forward is also spending £300m. But we don’t do that. Chelsea likes very much to be where Chelsea is. With stability.
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“The biggest advantage I hope is for the players to think: ‘My club and my manager trust me so much. They were so loyal to me and they want to show me they have a good memory and they don’t forget what I did last year. They don’t spend loads of money, they don’t sell me, they don’t kick me out, they want to keep me, they believe in me, so now it’s my time, it’s our time to give it back. To give my manager and my club a proper answer.’
“This is the most important thing – to give us what we deserve. They deserve our confidence.”
Chelsea begin their title defence in west London at 5.30pm this evening, as they host Gary Monk’s Swansea City. They have escaped defeat in the Premier League’s curtain-raiser for 16 successive years, and will be aiming to continue this stunning run against the Swans.