The man chosen to accompany Jose Mourinho for Tuesday's pre-Maribor press conference was Branislav Ivanovic, and the veteran -- he's just a couple months shy of 31, so we get to call him a veteran -- defender who has recently reinvented himself as the Serbian Cafú was asked about Chelsea's schedule, which will see the Blues travel to Anfield on Saturday on one full day's rest less than the hosts*.
"In the players' mind we are not allowed to think about that. It is true we have one day less to recover, but the next morning we have to take it from our minds. There cannot be any excuse for us."
"We focus on the next game completely. We cannot do anything. Our schedule in the last couple of years is always like that. We always have one day less to recover than our opponents but we adapt to that and we are ready for that."
-Branislav Ivanovic; source: Mail
Unfortunately, by answering the question about the schedule, he broke the "not allowed to think about the schedule" rule. But the overall message still stands. Namely: no excuses, play like a champion.
I think we can all get behind that.
* Liverpool also rested a bunch of players against Real Madrid, openly admitting that they had no hopes at all of winning. The fact that they're getting credit for keeping the score close is quite hilarious as well.