Mourinho Chelsea's "supreme leader"
Published 28/04/2015 | 13:36
Jose Mourinho says he is the supreme leader at Chelsea.
It is not John Terry, nor Didier Drogba or Petr Cech and Mourinho insists the Blues can cope if the latter two leave Stamford Bridge this summer as part of a natural changing of the guard.
"Chelsea leadership is my leadership," said Mourinho, whose side are 10 points clear and will aim to move within three points of the Premier League title by winning at Leicester on Wednesday night.
"For good and for bad. It's not the players' leadership."
Terry recently signed a one-year contract extension, but the futures of Drogba, whose deal expires at the end of the season, and Cech, unhappy after being relegated to the substitutes' bench and with another year to run on his deal, are less clear.
A decision on Cech's future will wait, with Mourinho previously saying it would take "big money" to sign the goalkeeper.
The fate of Drogba, who is 37, may not be determined by Mourinho and may be a decision for owner Roman Abramovich.
"I didn't speak with him (yet)," Mourinho said. "I think it belongs to him: what he feels, what he thinks.
"This is a club thing. This is a Mr Abramovich thing. Mr Abramovich wants him to do what he wants in the club, but it's something Mr Abramovich has to tell him.
"He has to decide. But, obviously, he belongs to the history of this club. These guys are special players."
Mourinho believes Terry, Drogba, Cech and John Obi Mikel will bridge a generational divide if, as expected, they win the 2014-15 Premier League title with Chelsea, a decade on from their first, in the Portuguese's first season.
"It's nice to belong to two different generations," Mourinho said.
"The same as me. It's nice to belong to the history of a club in different moments. If you manage to be champions, it's very nice for these older guys."
Asked how such influential players can be replaced, Mourinho pointed to the example of Frank Lampard, the club's record goalscorer who left last summer.
"Chelsea lost, in the end of last year, what I consider, for sure, one of the five most important players in the history of Chelsea FC: Frank Lampard," Mourinho said.
"We lost that player. But life goes on. You have to think about the future and to build.
"(Branislav) Ivanovic is experienced. (Cesar) Azpilicueta gets experience. (Eden) Hazard is here for three years.
"(Nemanja) Matic gets experience. The years are for everyone, not just for them. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is 18 and he just arrived. In five years' time he will be 23, so I see this as a natural process."
Mourinho has spoken of the longevity of his first Chelsea team, with Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba as the spine.
He is hoping to mastermind another durable, winning combination, but knows success in the Premier League is anything but a formality.
"At this moment, it's very difficult in the Premier League for a team to be dominant," he said.
"This is not Germany with Bayern (Munich). This is not Switzerland with Basle. This is not Scotland with Celtic.
"It's even more difficult to dominate than before. How can you speak about domination when everyone knows what will happen next summer?
"Arsenal have a phenomenal squad. Thierry Henry said they need four top-class players. Give Arsenal four top-class players and I think they will again be the Invincibles.
"Man United have a phenomenal squad, including the most expensive player in the history of the Premier League (Angel di Maria), who is not playing.
"They are a club where Financial Fair Play doesn't make a huge difference for them and they will invest hugely again in the summer.
"Man City have done phenomenally, winning two titles in three years, and people say they will invest hugely.
"Liverpool fighting for the title for many years. So next year it will be even more difficult for everyone than this year."