Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he is in the midst of the worst period of his trophy-laden career.
The Premier League champions have two wins from seven games this term and followed up last Saturday’s draw at Newcastle with a midweek Champions League loss at Porto.
“I define (this) as the worst period of my career, with the worst results in my career,” said Mourinho, whose side host Southampton this weekend.
“I get it as a fantastic experience – an experience that I don’t want to repeat. I want to finish tomorrow and win some matches again.
“I think it comes too late, to come after 15 years is too late, but it’s something that is helping me to be better, a great negative experience.”
Mourinho insists it is not the most challenging period, but the worst in terms of results.
He said: “I had a big challenge all the time. It’s the worst results. I’ve never lost so many matches. That’s a fact.”
The challenge began on the opening day of Chelsea’s title defence, a 2-2 draw with Swansea on August 8, the repercussions of which continue.
Mourinho criticised first-team doctor Eva Carneiro and head physio Jon Fearn for going on to the field to treat Eden Hazard.
And Mourinho was cleared by the Football Association on Wednesday of making discriminatory comments towards Carneiro.
FA chairman Greg Dyke has told officials that Mourinho committed “a failure of his personal judgement and public behaviour” in his criticism of Carneiro, while independent board member Heather Rabbatts launched a stinging attack on the FA for its “seriously disappointing” handling of the case.
Mourinho refused to respond on Friday, saying his comments will come in time.
“For the past two months I didn’t open my mouth and I’m going to keep it like this. One day I will speak and I will choose a day,” Mourinho said.
“I’m quiet about it for a long time. I read and I listen and I watch and I’m quiet.
“I’m telling you, we can be here all day. My time to speak will arrive when I decide.”
Mourinho is frustrated with the results, but is coping.
“I like to be under pressure when I’m top of the league and the second is one point behind. I don’t like the position we are in, but I adapt,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho reacted angrily to suggestions in the morning newspapers that his players were unhappy with his methods.
“In here we speak openly. We criticise people without any kind of problems and no prima donnas crying,” Mourinho added.
“When you make a mistake you have to speak about it. You know what I call that, in football? Coaching.
“If the coach cannot coach, go to a newspaper where nobody criticises anybody. Not all newspapers I believe, but one especially.”
Branislav Ivanovic has been subject to much criticism for his performances, but Mourinho refused to comment publicly on his right-back, who has avoided the fate of other established players who have been dropped.
“Ivanovic likes to speak to me and likes to speak to me about his mistakes,” he said.
“I’m critical with him and I speak with him about what he has to try to improve.
“I have no doubts that he is my best right-back. And I have no doubts that he has to improve in some aspects.”
Striker Diego Costa completes his three-match suspension against Saints, with Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao in contention to start, despite not being selected to travel to Portugal.
Captain John Terry has been an unused substitute in recent weeks, bar a Capital One Cup start at Walsall, and Chelsea fans serenaded him during post-match exercises after he again did not play at Porto.
“Fans can sing and I’m happy they sing and I’m happy they support John,” Mourinho added.
“He’s ready every game to play, even the ones I leave him on the bench, he’s ready to play.”
Thibaut Courtois is the only injury absentee – out with a knee injury until December – and Mourinho is looking for goalkeeping cover, with the signing of Marco Amelia possibly close.
“We have at this moment Marco Amelia working with us,” said Mourinho of the former AC Milan goalkeeper, who is a free agent.
“What we need is some cover. We need some stability until Courtois is back. Maybe he’s the guy to give us that.”