LONDON • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that he will not be strengthening his squad during the January transfer window even though the Blues have got off to the worst title defence in Premier League history.
Before the international break, Mourinho and his players suffered a defeat at Stoke City - their third successive league loss and seventh overall. That left the club in 16th place, a point behind Norwich City, today's visitors to Stamford Bridge, and 11 points off fourth-placed Manchester United.
But the Portuguese is confident Chelsea can finish in the top four without making any signings at the next available opportunity.
"I will not ask for any changes. I will not ask the board in January.
TIME TO BOUNCE BACK
But the power is in the hands of the owner and the board. They trust us and we need to give a positive answer.
JOSE MOURINHO, on repaying the faith shown in team
"I'm happy with the players. I trust the players," he told a press conference yesterday.
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"I don't need to clean the dressing room and I don't need to ask the club to spend money in January."
Mourinho spent £59.15 million (S$127 million) in the summer on the likes of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, forward Pedro and defender Abdul Baba Rahman.
But Chelsea's outlay still paled in comparison to rivals Manchester City (£162.2 million), Liverpool (£78 million) and Manchester United (£72.1 million).
Mourinho acknowledged that his squad has not changed much.
And it is up to those who lifted the Premier League trophy in the summer, himself included, to get the team out of their rut and repay the faith shown by owner Roman Abramovich.
"We were champions four months ago, the manager is the same and the players are basically the same too," said the 52-year-old, who was offered a contract extension in the summer.
"No one gives a four-year contract four months ago if they don't trust the person.
"Nobody gives new contracts to players like we do if we do not trust the players.
"But the power is in the hands of the owner and the board. They trust us and we need to give a positive answer."
His comments followed a rare interview given by Michael Emenalo, one of Abramovich's closest aides and Chelsea's technical director.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Emenalo revealed that the Blues are confident that Mourinho, winner of 22 trophies in his 15-year managerial career, is the man to lead the London club out of trouble.
The former Nigeria international, speaking publicly for the first time since he joined Chelsea in 2007, said the Premier League champions have been trapped in a "negative momentum" but that the decision to back Mourinho has been taken right at the top.
"When it comes to decisions, we feel confident we have an owner who has a very good track record, who is astute at making decisions of this kind at the right time to get us to where we want to be," he said.
"Right now, the statement from the owner and from the board comes from a belief that we are in a position to trust a manager who has delivered so much.
"We are in a position to trust a group of players who have delivered in the last couple of seasons."
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