Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho warned his side to “avoid” the dangers of having to contend with too much pressure in the busy winter period by guaranteeing qualification from the group stages of the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday.
Chelsea face Schalke in Gelsenkirchen tonight, and victory for the Premier League leaders would not only ensure their passage into the round of 16 but also guarantees top spot in Group G.
“We need points to carry on playing in the Champions League and that’s why we are here-to get the points,” the Portuguese, 51, told the media in Germany on Monday.
“We have two matches to do it, but obviously it would be better for us to qualify tomorrow (Tuesday).”
The unbeaten Premier League leaders top their pool on 8 points-three points ahead of second-placed Schalke-and require two points from the final two rounds of matches to ensure progress in Europe.
With the busy Christmas period just around the corner, Mourinho is wary of the stress posed by a probable late scramble for points.
“We have so many matches in December, if we can avoid a crucial match to decide the qualification for the Champions League, if we can avoid that pressure, it would be very good for us,” he said.
“The reality is we need points and we are going to try to do it tomorrow but if we don’t, we have the last game against Sporting to try and stay in the competition.”
Di Matteo not thinking of revenge
Former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo says he has no room for “emotions” as his Schalke side prepares to host the ‘Blues’ at the Veltins Arena.
Di Matteo, 44, was sacked by the west London outfit in November 2012, just six months after winning the Champions League title as caretaker coach.
“There is no time for emotions or sentimentality,” said Di Matteo, who made 175 appearances for the Stamford Bridge club between 1996 and 2002. “Perhaps there will be time for that after the game.
“There will be no feelings of revenge, a win would mean three points, nothing more,” added the Swiss-born ex-Italy international.
“In the last two days I have just concentrated on finding the best way of preparing the team,” insisted Di Matteo.
Schalke has a 100 per cent home record under the Italian boss and could draw level on points with Chelsea with victory on Tuesday evening.
“Chelsea have not lost a competitive game this season and have huge quality in their squad. Everything must click for us, we have to have a super day to beat them,” he said.