The road to the UEFA Champions League final is down to just four teams, with one of those clubs Chelsea FC from the Barclays Premier League.
Chelsea is set to play Atletico Madrid in the semifinals, but before then club manager Jose Mourinho sat down for a fan Q&A session with Chelsea Magazine. Chelsea FC granted FOX Sports early access before the magazine launched on Monday.
Here are Mourinho’s thoughts on defensive strategy, versatile players on the pitch, and Premier League play versus La Liga, and much more:
Q. How important is it that the three attacking midfielders help out the defense? Alex Simpson
A. Every player has to work for the team, both with and without the ball. All of our players contribute defensively and for the attacking midfielders there is a big responsibility to press the opposition when they have possession in their own half. It is extremely important to try to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible because, when you do this, your opponent is usually less prepared for the counter-attack. Usually, when you win the ball back close to their goal, the opposition defenders are not positioned to deal with a quick attack, so you have a good chance to find space, to exploit it and, hopefully, to score.
Q. Is it important to have players who can play in many positions, such as Azpi, Ivanovic and David Luiz? Charlie Thomson
A. Versatile players can help the team an enormous amount, not just because they offer you options when you have injuries or suspensions, but also during the match, if you need to change your approach because you are chasing a result.
Q. We have a lot of talented young players who bring pace, skill and energy to the team such as Hazard, Willian and Oscar, but do you think it’s important we have some experience in the team such as the likes of Terry, Lampard and Cech? Mason Holloway
A. Young, talented, quick players are exciting for the club. They occupy defenders, they open up space and they offer us something extra in games when we need to try to break down our opponents. But even if you have lots of very talented young boys, you still need to have players with experience, who understand every situation in the game because they have been there before and they know what to expect. It is important to find the combination of youth and experience to bring the right mental balance to the pitch in every game, in every situation.
Q. How do you rate the Premier League compared to La Liga? James Connaughton
A. You can see the biggest difference by looking at the league tables, where you have three teams in Spain, who are all very strong, all very close in terms of points, and who have great strength compared to the rest of the league. I have said many times since I returned to England that the Premier League is a different competition now because there are a lot of clubs who think they can challenge for the title.
Read Jose Mourinho answer more questions from fans in the latest edition of Chelsea Magazine, available to download on your tablet now at www.chelseafc.com/mobile.
Images provided by Getty.