Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mourinho Looking at the Bigger Game Plan

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mourinho Looking at the Bigger Game Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

JOSE MOURINHO has been called many thing, most of them complimentary.

Mourinho the magnificent, Mourinho the magician, Mourinho the marvel, Mourinho the modest - on second thoughts, scrub the last one.

It's the right time now to add one more description of Chelsea's manager - Mourinho the meticulous.

While his predecessor, Claudio Ranieri, would sometimes go into games on a wing and a prayer plus a 'phone call to his mum, Mourinho invariably seems on top of things, planning for every contingency.

That quality manifested itself again today, as Mourinho looked past Chelsea's final Group H match in the Champions League and on to the next stage.

The Chelsea manager would have been mildly irritated at his team dropping their first points following a drab and disappointing goalless draw with Paris St Germain but with the Group leadership already secure, Mourinho is already planning and plotting.

If the Group has been little more than a walk in the park for Chelsea, Mourinho has identified much bigger challenges to come.

Reflecting on the end of Chelsea's 100 per cent record in the Champions League this season, Mourinho said: "It's nice to have a 100 per cent record.

It will be very nice for Juventus if they can make three points in their final game and go through with 18 points.

"I can remember though, when I was assistant at Barcelona, we made 18 points and in the first knockout phase matches, we went out.

"The first objective in this competition is to go through, the second is to be leader and sometimes that means nothing.

"For us, imagine if Liverpool are second in their group. The rules say we cannot play against Liverpool because they are second and we cannot play against the head of the group because we also finished first.

"Imagine, because it's possible, Arsenal finish second. We cannot play either them or the head of the group. The same goes for Manchester United because it is also possible they will finish second.

"So what are our chances in the next stage? Bayern Munich, Barcelona, maybe Real Madrid and perhaps Werder Bremen, who are German champions. …

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