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Sep 29, 2013

Mourinho sets Champions League target

Jose Mourinho has warned his players that they could face another season of Europa League football if they fail to win their Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday night.

• Worrall: Mata proves a point

Europa League holders Chelsea lost their opening Champions League game of this season as FC Basel secured a shock 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge and Mourinho accepts his side need to win in Romania to revive their hopes.

"We need 12 points to be out of danger in this group," Mourinho said.

"It means we cannot lose this game and normally we have to win it. A draw is not enough.

"If we go there and do not win, we are depending on the results of our opponents in the group. We don’t want that, but I know what pressure is. At Inter, I went into the third game of the group knowing we had to win at Dynamo Kiev or we were out. We got the win. I know what pressure is.

"The difficulty is when you lose the first game of the Champions League at home, it reduces the chance to have a second mistake. So we have to try and get the three points."

Mourinho went on to suggest his "personal pride" would be damaged if Chelsea were to be thrown into the Europa League for a second season, as he questioned the logic of throwing the teams that finish third in their Champions League groups into UEFA’s second string competition.

"For my personal pride, I would not like to play in the Europa League with Chelsea," Mourinho said. "The Europa League is a prestigious competition, but you need to be manager of a Europa League team to be in it.

"Anyway, I don’t understand why the team that is third in the Champions League [groups] should be in the Europa League. If you finish third, you should go home.

"Teams that play in the Europa League suddenly have opponents from a different level appearing in their competition. This I don’t understand. You finish third, you go home. I would be disappointed to play in the Europa League, so we have to get the win in Steaua Bucharest."

Mourinho has already confirmed that midfielder Juan Mata will return to his starting line-up for the game in Romania, after his impressive performances in the Capital One Cup and the Premier League game at Tottenham on Saturday.

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