Mourinho challenges Mata and picks the lineup for Swindon

Angel Martinez

A win and a Mikel goal is just about the perfect way for Chelsea to say goodbye to Stamford Bridge for the next month as they face four straight away fixtures (and then another international break).  Up first, League One Swindon Town (and their trio of Spurs loanees) in the League Cup.

In what hopefully will not be a repeat of last season's adventures at Brentford, Swindon should instead be a chance for the squad to cut loose and fill their boots with sweet, sweet goals upon goals.  Adding extra motivation will be the challenge that Mourinho issued on Saturday:

"Tuesday of course he plays from the beginning against Swindon. [...] And I hope he tells me on the pitch, 'You are wrong, I am the best and I have to play every game.' "

-José Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

He is of course talking about Juan Mata, who was left completely out of the matchday squad on Saturday.  Much has been said and written about this crucial relationship - because make no mistake, Juan Mata is crucial to a consistently successful Chelsea - but Mourinho has made his terms clear.  And after giving Mata chances vs. Aston Villa (wherein the back-to-back Chelsea Player of the Year was not quite at full fitness) and at Everton, he is looking for some actual results on Tuesday.

"The story doesn't play. If the story , because I won two titles here, because I never lost a match here in the Premier League, nobody would criticise me but people criticise me. The past is the past and you have to be judged on what you do now. I gave Juan the chance to play from the beginning against Aston Villa, against Everton."

-José Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

I think Mourinho is well aware of Mata's quality, but whether as a motivational tactic or an actual tactical conundrum, he wants Mata to prove it on the pitch as well.  That Confederations Cup and subsequent injury sure sucks at this moment, does it not?

Alongside The Special Juan, Mourinho has basically named his full lineup already.

"The people who didn't play today are going to play. Juan and David Luiz and Michael Essien, Bertrand, and Azpilicueta."

"I have to create a balance in the bench. I must have players to cover every position. That's what I have to do. I have Azpilicueta to give cover to the full-backs and central defence, because Ivanovic can go central defender, Essien as a central midfielder, Lampard for his traditional position, and three attacking players, one striker and after that De Bruyne and Willian."

-José Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

Sounds like we'll be seeing Mark Schwarzer, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Michael Essien get their first starts of the season, while a fully rotated attacking band of Willian - Mata - De Bruyne in support of Demba Ba will be tasked with dazzling us against weaker opposition.  Last season's minutes leader Branislav Ivanovic may be the only unchanged member of the starting lineup on Tuesday.

In a fortunate twist, the match is set to actually be televised (Sky Sports) unlike last season's destruction of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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