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Mourinho pleased English rivals qualified for last 16

Jose Mourinho is pleased Chelsea were joined in the last 16 of the Champions League by Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal.

The Blues had already advanced to the knockout stages as Group G winners prior to the final round of matches, which saw them beat Sporting Lisbon 3-1 last night, while Arsenal were also already through before their 4-1 win over Galatasaray on Tuesday night.

City progressed in more dramatic fashion with a 2-0 away win over Roma completing their comeback after they took only two points from the opening four matches in their group.

"I'm happy City and Arsenal went through," Mourinho said.

"I work in England. I want the prestige of English football and I hope they do well.

"And we have also Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton in the Europa League, so I wish them good too.

"At the same time it's good for us that our direct opponents in the Premier League are involved in European competitions.

"Manchester United are not. They have the same advantage that Liverpool had last season in terms of the Premier League, a big advantage."

The Blues could play Juventus, Basle, Bayer Leverkusen, Paris St Germain or Shakhtar Donestsk in February's first knockout round.

"I don't think any of the big teams is out of the Champions League now. Maybe Liverpool," Mourinho said.

"But all the teams that want to win the competition, they're all in the competition.

"Season after season you repeat this; normally everyone is in the last 16. Everybody's there, so the Champions League starts now.

"Let's see what we can do this season, step by step."

Chelsea will discover their opponents in Monday's draw.

Immediately after the match Mourinho said: "There are a few sharks in the ocean."

Asked if he likes swimming with sharks, Mourinho said: "Yes, I like. In a cage. I did it in French Polynesia. I didn't want to go, but my wife and my kids, they pushed me."

He has no preference for the last 16, but would not underestimate any opponent.

He said: "Paris would be good, because it's easy to travel for us, for the fans. It would be good, but we can't decide the draw.

"The hardest? Everyone is hard. You think Basle is easy? We lost twice against them last year. They beat Liverpool and three years ago they beat Manchester United.

"Leverkusen, Shakhtar... I don't think there are easy teams at that moment."

Mourinho was also happy with the performance as Chelsea responded from a first loss of the season - a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in their 24th game - with victory.

A Cesc Fabregas penalty and goals from Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel earned the win.

Mourinho said: "We did what we had to do. We played seriously and we deserved to win, I believe. Good attitude. The players were serious."


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