Every month, Jose Mourinho answers questions posed to him by Chelsea fans on the official Chelsea FC magazine. This month: the manager talks about his hopes for Mohamed Salah, the importance of attacking players pressing high up the pitch and how the Premier League has changed since his first spell.
Q: How important is it that the three attacking midfielders help out the defence?
Every player has to work for the team, both with and without the ball. All of our players contribute defensively and for the attacking midfielders there is a big responsibility to press the opposition when they have possession in their own half. It is extremely important to try to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible because, when you do this, your opponent is usually less prepared for the counter-attack. Usually, when you win the ball back close to their goal, the opposition defenders are not positioned to deal with a quick attack, so you have a good chance to find space, to exploit it and, hopefully, to score.
Q: Is it important to have players who can play in many positions, such as Azpi, Ivanovic and David Luiz?
Versatile players can help the team an enormous amount, not just because they offer you options when you have injuries or suspensions, but also during the match, if you need to change your approach because you are chasing a result.
Q: We have a lot of talented young players who bring pace, skill and energy to the team such as Hazard, Willian and Oscar, but do you think it’s important we have some experience in the team such as the likes of Terry, Lampard and Cech?
Young, talented, quick players are exciting for the club. They occupy defenders, they open up space and they offer us something extra in games when we need to try to break down our opponents. But even if you have lots of very talented young boys you still need to have players with experience, who understand every situation in the game because they have been there before and they know what to expect. It is important to find the combination of youth and experience to bring the right mental balance to the pitch in every game, in every situation.
Q: How do you rate the Premier League compared to La Liga?
You can see the biggest difference by looking at the league tables, where you have three teams in Spain, who are all very strong, all very close in terms of points, and who have great strength compared to the rest of the league. I have said many times since I returned to England that the Premier League is a different competition now because there are a lot of clubs who think they can challenge for the title.
Q: Mohamed Salah was impressive on his first start against Stoke. What will he bring to the squad?
I think he has the potential to be a very exciting player. He has come from a different situation to most of the squad, because he was playing in Switzerland before he came here, and in Egypt before that, so he has to adapt to his surroundings here. He has incredible pace and he is comfortable receiving the ball in space, like a traditional winger, so he offers us another way to beat the defence.