Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has insisted his side are outsiders to lift this season’s Champions League trophy as he prepares for the last-16 clash against Galatasaray in Istanbul.
While Mourinho accepts there is "room for a surprise" in Europe’s elite competition, he suggests Chelsea’s status as Premier League leaders does not make them strong contenders to win the trophy they lifted against the odds in 2012.
“We are not favourites, that’s obvious,” he added, when asked to sum up his side’s hopes of winning this season’s Champions League.
“When a team reaches the quarterfinals, anything is possible. I think this round is a very important round for every team because the teams that reach the quarter-finals can have a little feeling when they arrive in the quarterfinals.
“Chelsea won it when they were not the favourite. I won it twice when I was not favourite [with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010]. I didn’t win it when my team was one of the favourites to win it, so this competition has a bit of a space for a surprise.
“I think it is clear that there are at least three, maybe four or five teams that are by quality, by experience, by status, they are obviously favourites.”
Mourinho accepted his side face a tough task to overcome Roberto Mancini’s Galastasaray, as he suggested his side will go for victory in the first leg in Turkey.
“We go to play to win,” he added. “We know that they are strong. In their attacking players, they have special players. Even on the bench they have very good and dangerous players. Didier [Drogba] and the attacking midfield players, they have lots of good players and a lot of good goal scorers.
“As I have said many times, we are trying to build a team for the future and the way to do that is not to play one day an attacking team and the next something else. So we will try to win the game.
“I look forward to every match. Galatasaray is the Turkish champions and it will be a strange feeling to face Drogba, but we have to do our job. He has to do his job, I have to do my job.”
David Luiz and John Obi Mikel have travelled to Turkey and may be fit for Chelsea after missing last Saturday’s Premier League clash with Everton. Brazilian midfielder Oscar is also in Istanbul despite an ankle problem that forced him off at half-time.