Chelsea's Mourinho plans to erase bad Champion's League memory
Mourinho shrugs off poor form as he aims to make his mark in the Champions League with Chelsea, starting tonight against Basel
Associated Press in London
When the "Special One" returned to Chelsea, he did it with the Champions League at the back of his mind.
After an acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge early in the 2007-08 season, manager Jose Mourinho came back to London with the aim of lifting the trophy he delivered at FC Porto and Inter Milan.
The Blues are not in the best of form as they begin their bid for a third consecutive piece of European silverware against FC Basel tonight. But Mourinho, who plans to select four players aged 22 or under for Chelsea's return to the Champions League, has faith in the quality of his young crop of players, his "beautiful young eggs" as he called them yesterday.
Chelsea, who won the Europa League last season following their Champions League's triumph in 2012, have failed to win their last three matches in all competitions and were handed a first defeat of the season in the Premier League at Everton last weekend.
"We've lost one match," Mourinho said. "It's Champions League we start tomorrow, zero matches, zero points. Now we have to build a team full of talented players without the experience and without the football philosophy of working together for a long time. No obsession for me, no obsession for Chelsea, but I want to win for the third time, I want Chelsea to win for the second time and this is the beginning of a process with the Champions League."
Six years ago, when he fell out with club owner Roman Abramovich, Mourinho complained about not being able to shop at a supermarket for "class one eggs."
Asked about the quality of his eggs this season, Mourinho answered: "Beautiful young eggs, eggs that need a mum, in this case a dad, to take care of them, to keep them warm during the winter, to bring the blankets and to work and improve them and one day we'll arrive in a moment when the weather changes, the sun rises, we break the eggs and the eggs are ready to go for life at the top level."
German side Schalke host Steaua Bucharest in the other group E match.
"After one defeat you just want the next match to come as soon as possible, and probably the Champions League is the best way," Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata said. "These nights at Stamford Bridge have a different feeling, even more so since we won the title two years ago. This competition brings great memories to all of us and makes us feel really excited."
Mourinho is likely to be excited, too, even though the Portuguese coach won't be remembered as the "First One" if he ends up winning the Champions League with Chelsea this season. The former Real Madrid coach was just a spectator when the Blues defeated Bayern Munich to win the prestigious trophy under Roberto Di Matteo.
"When I was watching, I was with the Blues," said Mourinho. "The side was full of players from my time and you know they suffered a lot. They deserved to win the Champions League. It's a competition that has a special aura."