Jose Mourinho insists he is not motivated by the thought of matching Roberto Di Matteo’s achievement of winning the Champions League with Chelsea.
Instead the Portuguese wants to set about building his next great team at Stamford Bridge, one that is capable of challenging for the trophy which has so far eluded him during his time in west London.
Having delivered European Cups whilst in charge at Porto and Inter Milan, Mourinho so far has not been able to repeat the feat with Chelsea — whose one and only success in the competition came under Di Matteo’s stewardship in 2012.
But this season has started promisingly for the Blues, who are unbeaten in all competitions and lead the Premier League.
Progression into the knockout stages of the Champions League can be attained with a victory over Di Matteo’s Schalke side in Gelsenkirchen tonight but Mourinho is not thinking about having to equal the Italian’s triumphs during his spell at Chelsea.
“Don’t ask me to speak about him,” said Mourinho when asked about Di Matteo.
“The history is the history — he was on the Chelsea bench when Chelsea won the Champions League and he is a historic name in this club, I have nothing more to say.
“My name is in the history of this club. A football club is made of many, many names not one or two names or one player or one manager.
“I did my history here and now I have the chance to make more history here and he was Chelsea manager and he did his history.”
Although winning Europe’s elite club competition is seen as a huge accolade, Mourinho refuses to pin his Chelsea legacy on delivering the title to the club and is keen to establish a new generation of players who can fight for trophies across the board.
“I want to win the next match, I want to make the team come up and the Champions League I say many, many times is not a consequence of a great work,” he said.
“Sometimes it is not. You can win the Champions League in the worst season. You can finish fifth and win the Champions League. Liverpool did and Chelsea too. [They were actually sixth].
“So the Champions League is something that you can not say ‘this is the direction I want to go’. A knockout competition is something that always has a big percentage of unpredictability.
“I can do nothing to win it. I can only work to improve my team all the time, make a very good team like we are doing.”
Like Mourinho, Di Matteo’s focus is one tonight’s game as he looks to keep up Schalke’s chances of reaching the knockout stages, with his side currently second to Chelsea.
“I had a very good time as a player and as a manager in London. I spent many years of my life there and am still in contact with some of the people and the players,” he said.
“But there’s no time for sentimentality. The match is Schalke against Chelsea and I want to win with Schalke against Chelsea.”
A win for the Premier League pace-setters would see them seal progression out of the group whilst a defeat could leave Schalke open to being caught by either Sporting Lisbon or Maribor.
“The group is still wide open,” said Di Matteo. “Every team has the chance to reach the knockout round. We’ll give everything, a win would put us in a very good position.”
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