Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea are going in right direction

Lazy Blues in pursuit of top gear

Jose Mourinho is confident Chelsea have the DNA of a side capable of growing into title challengers this season. The Blues made it two wins from two at the start of the new Barclays Premier League season after eventually seeing off the challenge of Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

Although it was a somewhat laboured performance for the best part of an hour – which Mourinho described as "lazy" – the Chelsea boss felt his side showed glimpses of what they are capable of, with £32million striker Diego Costa's close-range finish putting them ahead just after the hour.

Eden Hazard's curling effort on 77 minutes eventually wrapped up all three points for a 2-0 victory over last season's Championship winners.

"Football is about adapting to everything, but the reality is that our way of thinking about football, the DNA we want in our team, is this one we are trying to show. We maybe aren't showing it for 90 minutes yet but we are in some moments," Mourinho said.

The Portuguese boss accepts his men still have plenty of hard work ahead, but believes things are moving in the right direction.

He added: "Everything feels good, but it is only two matches out of 38.

"The reality is not just that you win, but that you show things, maybe not for 90 minutes and continuously, I can't expect more than that.

"We are also showing a different style of play, and we have the players to play that way, so it is good to have a certain identity.

"We started the second half at 0-0, but never lost our identity, we never started playing in a different way, we are a pass-and-move team when we have the ball. We are doing that, we believe in that.

"The players are enjoying it, obviously we need to be more intense, defensively as well, we need to pass more, attack the man with the ball more.

"We need to improve more in many areas, but the basic things are there and we believe in that."

Full-back Branislav Ivanovic impressed and was dangerous in attack, forcing a good save from Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel before his cross on 63 minutes was chested down by Costa and driven home from close range to break the tension around Stamford Bridge.

"He has been immense," Mourinho said.

"Ivanovic is strong going forward and is strong defensively. I think that right now I expect this from him because he is one of the ones from our important days, from the mental point of view he belongs to that strong base.

"I don't know if he has got the credit he deserves, but I don't think he worries too much about it.

"He is about 'select me to play, give me the right-back shirt and everything is good'. That is not a problem and for many years he has been performing at the highest level."

Mourinho had opted to switch to afternoon training sessions this week in a bid to avert any lethargy from the traditional August sunshine, which failed to materialise.

The Portuguese coach feels things are moving in the right direction and Chelsea can soon find another level when the fixtures start to come thick and fast once the Capital One Cup and Champions League campaigns begin.

"I know that we need to work and improve, especially on the intensity of our game, which I want to be higher defensively," said Mourinho.

"But at the same time I know pre-season was not perfect and we need to go step by step."

Belfast Telegraph


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