Jose Mourinho spoke to the media in Switzerland today, and was asked about a variety of subjects. Some of them (such as his thoughts on City's romp over Tottenham yesterday) have little to do with Chelsea. Some questions were asked about the players in his squad though, and those answers were certainly worth paying attention to.
The big question was naturally about Juan Mata, who was specifically addressed at the presser. When asked about why Mata hasn't been featuring much, Mourinho had the following to say:
'I can't start matches with 12, 13 or 14 players which I would love to do because many people deserve to play and Juan is one of them, with the way he works, the way he behaves and the way we see him every day. But if I played him people would be asking me about not playing Hazard or Oscar and for these three positions behind the striker we have so many options.'
'Against West Ham I left out Mata who is an international for Spain, I left out Schurrle who is an international for Germany, De Bruyne who was probably the best Belgian player in the qualification group. I left out Willian who has just played for Brazil the last two matches, so it is a good problem for me but it is hard for them and it is hard for me because I don't have pleasure when I leave them out. '
He spoke a bit more on the subject of rotation, getting into the fixture congestion during the month of December:
'This is a period I like, where the squad can play a role, not just the team. It is a period where only the brave can survive because it is hard, with the Christmas period where the accumulation of matches is so high. You don't do it as a normal team, you do it as a special group with a special mentality. I missed it when I was in Italy and Spain.'
'We have nine matches in December and one is the match against Steaua so instead of nine matches, if we can finish the job tomorrow it will be eight competitive matches and that is our motivation.'
'I keep repeating to the players that it is the moment when everybody has a chance to feel important and everybody has the chance to show what they can do, even the people that don't play a lot. It is a big chance for all of them so I try to make them mentally ready.'
So today's presser brought us mention of Mourinho's appreciation of several players that haven't been featuring much of late, and then talk of rotation being necessary during the congested schedule we're about to face. The upcoming month will be an excellent barometer of exactly how comfortable Mourinho is with the depth at his disposal, and should provide an opportunity for some fringe players to force themselves into Mourinho's starting eleven. Here's hoping they all play like they are fighting for future minutes, because we ought to reach the transfer window in excellent shape if they do.