Mourinho recalls Terry to end 'worst spell of my career'
Jose Mourinho is poised to answer the pleas of Chelsea fans by handing a first-team recall to captain John Terry as he seeks to bring an end to what he describes as "the worst period of my career".
However, the Chelsea manager has suggested that out-of-form right-back Branislav Ivanovic will survive the cut in his latest round of changes for today's Premier League game against Southampton.
Chelsea fans chanted "We want our captain back" after this week's 2-1 Champions League defeat by Porto and Terry is now hopeful of winning back his starting place to face Southampton, following Mourinho's complaints that his defence made "ridiculous" mistakes in Portugal.
Mourinho is once again planning to shuffle his pack, as last season's Player of the Year Eden Hazard will return and Radamel Falcao is the leading candidate to replace the suspended Diego Costa, despite the Colombian having been one of three players left in England for the Porto trip.
With Chelsea 14th in the Premier League table as well as having lost to Porto, Mourinho said: "I define it as the worst period in my career with the worst results in my career, which I see as a fantastic experience. Not one I want to repeat. I want it to finish, but it's a good experience in my career.
"It comes too late. To come after 15 years is too late.
"It should come after three or four. But it's something that's helping me to be better.
"It's a great negative experience. It's the worst results. I've had big challenges all the time, but it's the worst period. I've never lost so many matches, that's a fact."
Despite being an unused substitute in Porto, Terry completed a solitary warm-down after Chelsea's defeat that promoted cries for him to return from the club's travelling supporters.
"The fans can sing and I'm happy they sing and support John," said Mourinho.
"It's more important they support John when he's not playing than when he is playing. When he is playing he is on a high, so he doesn't need that support."
Asked whether Terry was ready to play against Southampton, Mourinho replied: "He is ready every game to play. Even the ones I leave him on the bench. He is ready to play."
The Stamford Bridge faithful will be far less pleased to hear that Ivanovic is likely to keep his place despite being at fault for a number of goals Chelsea have conceded.
Ivanovic has come in for fierce criticism and his form has also been questioned in team meetings, but Mourinho said: "Ivanovic likes to speak with me and Ivanovic likes to speak with me about his mistakes, and is not crying. He's not crying, he's not a prima donna and I'm critical with him.
"We speak about what he has to do to try to improve. I have no doubts he is my best right-back and that he has to improve in some aspects of his game this season. Simple as that."
Along with Falcao, Oscar and Loic Remy were left in England while the rest of the squad travelled to Portugal, but Mourinho has praised the attitude of the trio.
All three players could return to the match-day squad for the Southampton game, with Falcao expected to get the nod ahead of Remy to deputise for Costa.
Hazard is yet to display his best form this season, but Mourinho revealed the Belgian only travelled to Newcastle last week on the day of the game because of the birth of his child.
"I said already, Eden Hazard's the best player in this country," said Mourinho. "If we arrive in May and Eden Hazard doesn't have a good period, we are in trouble and he is too because his season was very bad.
"He played very well against Arsenal. Against Newcastle, he was all night without sleeping because his baby was born that night, he travelled on the morning of the game and wasn't in the best condition.
"Then, in Porto, he stays on the bench and comes with a clear plan of playing later on for the last 30 minutes, but comes on immediately after we go 2-1 down when Porto are being compact at the back.
"Hazard is the best. He's in a period where he's not at the top of his game, but he's the best."
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