LONDON • It is too soon to start searching for silver linings to Chelsea's campaign and it would be a mistake, according to Jose Mourinho, for the club to prioritise success in Europe over the defence of their Premier League title.
Indeed, far from narrowing horizons, the Chelsea manager believes that his team can win four trophies this season.
All things are possible, he insisted, despite an insipid start in which Chelsea have taken 11 points from nine games and lost to Porto in the Champions League.
"We can win all four, we can lose all four," the Chelsea manager said, with his side still in the League Cup and FA Cup as well. "We are in October. Everything is open."
DEFENDING HIS OWN FAILURES
Of course I'm entitled to (one bad season). There are guys who have one good season out of 20. Some of them (have) not even one good (season).
JOSE MOURINHO on his counterparts
Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012 under the guidance of Roberto di Matteo after a disappointing Premier League campaign which saw them finish sixth.
But Mourinho disputes that the club made European success a priority three years ago.
"Chelsea were struggling to try to finish top four and never prioritised. Never. It happened in that season because it happened. Not because Chelsea prioritised," said the Portuguese before yesterday's Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev.
"When you prioritise in this league you have a big risk, which is the risk of not winning the Champions League and (not) finishing top four and not playing Champions League the next season.
"So we cannot prioritise in this league. We have to go all the way and make sure we finish top four."
By his high standards, a top-four finish is not good enough. But the 52-year-old Portuguese believes he is entitled to one bad season.
He pointed to the 22 major titles he has won in 15 years of management as evidence of "too much" success. And this success, he said, has led to "envy", which is why some are happy that he has overseen the Blues' worst start in 37 years.
"I learn to be happy with the happiness of the others," he told the Irish Times. "But I repeat, it's a moment. It's not a moment that will last for a long time.
"Of course I'm entitled to (one bad season). There are guys who have one good season out of 20. Some of them (have) not even one good (season). I'm entitled. I don't need to prove (anything)."
Mourinho delivered a third Premier League title last season, and claimed that modern football's short-sightedness is to blame for the unprecedented pressure he is under now.
"When I am in a great moment, it looks like nothing's happened," he grumbled.
"When I am in a bad moment, I pay for this a little bit.
"I don't have many friends in the football world."
He certainly has a poor relationship with the Football Association. And on Monday evening, the FA published the written reasons for fining him £50,000 (S$107,000) and handing him a suspended one-match stadium ban for suggesting referees were afraid to award decisions in Chelsea's favour.
Mourinho has now been hit with fines worth a combined £101,000 in a little over two seasons.
"It appears to us that increasing levels of fine are not on their own going to be a reliable deterrent for Mr Mourinho against improper comments to the media," the FA said.
Mourinho is appealing against the punishment.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN