Jose Mourinho has said he agrees with some of the criticism of Chelsea’s last two defeats, but insists that it is still far too early to worry.
In a somewhat defiant press conference in which the Portuguese fronted up about a lot of the recent scrutiny, he also deflected questions by saying that both he and the club hierarchy have not liked the way the team has played over the past two years.
Should Chelsea lose at home to Fulham on Saturday, it will be the first time in his entire managerial career that he has lost three consecutive games, after defeats to Everton and Basel.
“I think scrutiny is normal,” Mourinho said. “I'm in football for too long a time to not be surprised with scrutiny and opinion and criticism and everything else. I’m not surprised. I’m not worried. I didn’t read many, but for sure I have to agree with some, for sure. I have to disagree with some others, for sure.
“But I have a job to do and I know where I want to go. I know the steps I want to give. When you want to build something different than the players are adapted to and comfortable with, it’s more difficult.
“If you want to do something different, there is a period where I understand that, if results are not good, people will question the direction you go, but it’s up to me to determine the direction we’re going. If people expect us to play with a low block, nine behind the ball, waiting for Fulham to make a mistake, score a goal on the counterattack, I’m not going in that direction."
Mourinho was asked whether he was surprised that the progress has been slower than many might have expected.
“The first thing I have to say is that we lost nothing,” he said. “You like scrutiny and to compare things. We didn’t finish third in the Champions League group, we didn’t get relegated to the Europa League and we didn’t finish third in the Premier League. We lost one match in the Premier League. The other five contenders for the title, all of them lost a match except Liverpool who are top of the league.
“If you like to make comparisons, you have to wait. You have to wait because it’s not the way you start, it’s the way you finish. You want to start well and finish well -- that’s the perfect picture. But between starting well and finishing well, or starting well and finishing bad, I’d prefer to start badly and finish well.”
Despite the recent results, Mourinho is determined to stick with his plan in trying implement a new style at the club.
“We want to change. We have the players with the profile to change," he said. "We want to play a different style. The past is history, even my past. I’ve always said I don’t want to be protected because of what I did in the past. But the profile has changed.
“People were asking me after Everton if I missed Didier [Drogba], but that’s history. A fantastic history, but we want to change. We are now going to change. I don’t want to defend as a low block. I don’t want long balls to a lonely striker. I don’t want to do that.
“I agree, we must have better results. I agree, at this level, some clubs won’t wait three, four, five years to have a team, so we have to accelerate the process. But I’m not going to change. We want this team to play a certain way, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Asked whether he would persist even if it takes months, Mourinho said: “Of course. Tomorrow we might win 3-0 and everyone says it's perfect. Or we might lose, our first defeat at home at Chelsea in 200 matches, I don't know ...
“When I saw my team play against Bayern Munich I saw the team brilliant. When you play like that against the champions of Europe, you see you can do it immediately. But it's part of a process. There's instability. If a team is made and is an end product, you keep a certain stability.
“Likewise, if you have very experienced players comfortable with everything, there's stability. But we have work to do. The work I have to do doesn't sell papers. What sells papers is big victories or big defeats. A normal process doesn't sell papers. But I have to believe in my work, the players' work, and wait for the results to arrive.
“I hope you have the same dialogue with the other managers who came after me ... Did you say to Carlo [Ancelotti], [Luiz Felipe] Scolari, Andre [Villas-Boas], [Rafa] Benitez, [Roberto] Di Matteo, did you tell them every press conference that Jose didn't lose a match at home?
“You did? So that's fair. I understand. That's what sells papers. I don't want to lose again, but it's not the way it starts. It's about the way it ends. For me, no crisis. For me, two bad results.”