Mourinho backs Begovic to shine
Published 09/08/2015 | 23:08
Jose Mourinho is confident back-up goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will shine at Manchester City next weekend, rejecting the notion that Chelsea would miss Petr Cech.
After 10 seasons as number one at Stamford Bridge, the 33-year-old Czech international grew understandably frustrated playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois last term.
Mourinho was adamant that Cech would not be going anywhere, but Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich overruled the Portuguese and allowed him to join Arsenal - a decision that will be brought into sharp focus next weekend.
Courtois' sending off in Saturday's stuttering 2-2 home draw with Swansea led to the introduction of summer signing Begovic, with the former Stoke goalkeeper now set for his full debut at title rivals City next weekend.
"We don't miss Petr," Mourinho said. "We've got a good keeper, the problem with Petr is not that we miss him because we have two excellent keepers.
"The problem with Petr is that an opponent is better than before.
"Thibaut and Asmir are two fantastic keepers. My club did very well by getting a keeper on time and not on the August 31.
"If my club gives me a keeper on August 31, then we have a problem not just for today but also for the next match. Unless the people understand that it's not a red card and they clear the suspension."
Courtois will serve a one-match ban at the Etihad Stadium after being sent off for bringing down Bafetimbi Gomis, providing the Frenchman a chance from the penalty spot which he took to secure a 2-2 draw.
Mourinho was clearly angered by the decision - "I expect the referees to do their job well, that's what I expect" - and rejected the notion they have started the season slowly, having also lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield.
There were indeed some promising signs in the first half on Saturday, with Diego Costa an imposing presence having overcome a reoccurring hamstring issue to start.
"He did very well, and again the second half is very difficult because it was a big difference - one player less and a lot of effort and even so I was not expecting him to resist for 90 minutes," Mourinho said.
"But because we wanted to try to get a goal we went with him until the end and it was very important and new for us that he played for 90 minutes with such a physical performance.
"He is happy with the reaction. He is okay, happy, he is very happy and with the reaction with his body after such a hard game."
Courtois' sending off ratcheted up the difficulty level against a Swansea side in which a number of individuals impressed, such as Jonjo Shelvey.
Garry Monk said the midfielder was "lazy" and had to "wise up" last December - comments that got the Swans boss the desired response then and now.
"Yes, I spoke to him about this seriously," Monk said. "He's still a young player which you forget about with him because he looks a lot older!
"He has talent - they all have - but him especially and his vision, his technical ability is excellent. It's just trying to get him to a level where he can perform to that for every single 90 minutes, week in and week out.
"I think we can get there. He has the right attitude now and it's about us working. He needs a lot of work, Jonjo.
"He realises how serious it is at this level and what type of player he can be," he continued. "It's all right me wanting it for him but he has to want it for himself."