Jose Mourinho says none of his Chelsea players are untouchable.
The Blues boss memorably described the nucleus of his first Chelsea side as permanent names on the team sheet, but believes his current crop of underperforming players are short of that status this term.
“Untouchables in football, only consistency can give you that status,” said Mourinho, whose champions are 15th in the Premier League after two wins in the opening seven games.
“You have to be a fantastic player, but you have to be consistent.
“In this moment we have fantastic players, the players that gave us the title last season. But football is about today, it’s not about yesterday. In football you have to be consistent in your performance, in your emotion.
“To be a winner you don’t need to win all the time, but to be a winner you must have a strong mentality every game, every day. At this moment I don’t have untouchables.”
Chelsea have Diego Costa available for Tuesday night’s Champions League Group G clash at Porto, Mourinho’s former club, with the striker in the middle of a three-match domestic ban.
Mourinho lauded Costa’s performance in the win over Arsenal, when the Brazil-born Spain striker was a nuisance and retrospectively banned for grappling with Laurent Koscielny.
Asked if he would like 11 players to show the same desire of Costa, Mourinho said:
“I think we would lose every game because the desire to suspend him is so big that we wouldn’t have players to start the game.
“I’m happy to have only one and let him play until they decide to suspend him again.”
It is not the first time Mourinho has returned to Porto, whom he guided to the 2003 UEFA Cup and the 2004 Champions League titles — he made an immediate Champions League return in the 2004-05 season with Chelsea — but he is honoured to feature in the Portuguese club’s museum.
Mourinho visited the museum prior to undertaking his media duties on the eve of the match.
It reminded the 52-year-old of his affinity for Porto, which he must put to one side on Tuesday night.
“As a museum it’s amazing. Absolutely amazing,” he added.
“When you are lucky to be part of it, when you are not just a simple visitor, you are somebody that did something that deserves to be part of that museum, it’s very emotional.
“You realise that you did something important, something time will not delete.
“So for me it’s the kind of visit that makes my heart a bit softer and I have now to go to the hotel and make it hard again because tomorrow I have a big game.”
There are numerous sub-plots in the encounter, not least the one which sees Mourinho face Iker Casillas, the goalkeeper with whom he had a rotten relationship at Real Madrid.
Mourinho interrupted the first question on the subject.
“If you’re going to ask me about Casillas, I’m going to greet him at the beginning and the end. No more questions about it,” he said.
The self-proclaimed Special One also stated everyone was available, with the exception of long-term absentee Thibaut Courtois.
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