Jose leaves nothing to chance in absence

His assistants are prepared for all scenarios in Stoke game while he serves a stadium ban

LONDON • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has plans for 1,000 scenarios in place for his assistants to execute in his absence at the Britannia Stadium today.

The Portuguese decided against appealing against a one-match stadium ban imposed following his clash with referee Jon Moss during the Blues' recent defeat at London rivals West Ham.

As such, he will have no contact with his team for a match that could determine his future at the club. The champions are languishing in 15th place as they seek to end a run of one win in the last five Premier League games.

Mourinho revealed that he has prepared for almost every eventuality and will be responsible for choosing the team who face Stoke City and substitutions.

"I haven't prepared for us with seven men... but we have gone through scenarios. The most incredible scenarios you can imagine. Half-time, winning 4-0, half-time, losing 4-0," he told a press conference yesterday.

"In between these, you have 1,000 options, be dominating and controlling the game or the opposite. Problems in certain areas - injuries, red cards; we went through all these different scenarios.

CONTINGENCY PLANS

I haven't prepared for us with seven men... but we have gone through scenarios. The most incredible scenarios you can imagine.''

JOSE MOURINHO, Chelsea manager

"They are prepared," he said of assistants Rui Faria, Steve Holland and Silvino Louro.

Mourinho is alleged to have got around a Uefa stadium ban in 2005 by hiding in a laundry basket, which allowed him to give pre-match and half-time team talks during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich.

While asked if that happened, he refused to confirm or deny the incident. But he said he would not resort to that stunt today and might not even watch the game.

"I have no plans (to watch)," he said. "Maybe I sit in the street corner with my iPad. Maybe I don't even watch the game.

"Maybe live scores? Results?"

The 52-year-old also warned that his ban could set a precedent.

"I imagine there will be lots of managers with stadium bans in the future," he said.

"Bans should be something really serious in terms of aggression. This stadium ban is connected to words, to complaints."

Today's game marks a return for Chelsea to the scene of their League Cup exit, where the holders were beaten on penalties last month. Jack Butland saved the decisive spot kick from Eden Hazard to take Stoke through to the quarter-finals. And his manager Mark Hughes - a former Chelsea striker - believes the England international has proved the ideal replacement following Asmir Begovic's move to Stamford Bridge.

Begovic left Stoke to join Chelsea in pre-season, vindicating Hughes' decision in May to promote Butland, 22, and give him a run of first-team games.

This term, no goalie has made more saves (46) than Butland.

"He's showing a high level of performance week in, week out and he's going to get better," he said.

Defender Geoff Cameron is fit again after missing Stoke's last two games with a thigh injury suffered in a defeat by Watford - the Potters' only loss in eight games.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2015, with the headline 'Jose leaves nothing to chance in absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe