Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is unconcerned by the prospect of being sacked should his former club FC Porto knock his side out of the Champions League. Defeat for the 2012 winners at Stamford Bridge coupled with Dynamo Kiev beating Maccabi Tel Aviv will see the west Londoners drop into the Europa League and continue a woeful campaign, which has already seen them all-but relinquish their Premier League title.
The Times understand the game could represent Mourinhos last in his second spell with the Blues should the club crash out, with owner Roman Abramovich ready to dismiss the Portuguese boss for a second time. The loss to AFC Bournemouth leaves Chelsea three points above the relegation zone in the English top flight and an exit from Europes top tier competition would continue their plight.
There are no ifs, the Chelsea boss said in a pre-match press conference. Win, draw or lose, no ifs. I am an optimistic guy. There are no ifs. I think I have done a lot of good things in this club for the owner to know the quality I have. I know the wind of the results is strong because the results in the Premier League are really bad.
The owner knows who I am, what I give for the club and he believes that I am the right person to do the job. You can read these bad results and focus on the manager. You can look at the results and look to the players with performances below acceptable and you can look to the unlucky decisions that we are having in every competition. You can look in my direction and you can decide that it is not a one man responsibility.
Does the Europa League beckon?
Should results go against Chelsea then the club will drop into the second-tier European competition, something they won in 2013 after they crashed out of the Champions League as holders. Amid the clubs domestic problems, victory in the Europa League would provide a second route into next seasons elite competition â€“ but Mourinho is refusing to contemplate such an eventuality.
I know that at the moment it looks to the Europa League is easier to win to be in the Champions League than to finish in the top four, added Mourinho, whose side are 14 points adrift of the top four. There is another possibility which is to win the Champions League. It is harder obviously yes, but this is the competition we are in.
I was always against teams that get knocked out of the Champions League. There is such a difference. I think if you are knocked out you should go home and focus on domestic competitions. Because of the rules it is a good way for the team that are knocked out of the Champions League, but we dont want that. We want to play Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and we want to win tomorrow.
Mourinho has confirmed striker Radamel Falcao, who took part in first-team training on the eve of the game, will not be involved against his former club as he continues to recover from a muscular problem. Captain John Terry and Ramires, neither of whom have played for Chelsea since November, are however fit to return.
Falcao is not fit, he explained. He just had a little period with us It was the first time hed trained with us. Hes still a couple of weeks away from being in condition to play. John and Ramires look fine.