Jose Mourinho has reinstated the Christmas party at Chelsea and is so delighted with his squad that he has told owner Roman Abramovich that he wants no outgoing or incoming transfers during January.
The Christmas party was postponed at Chelsea last season following a defeat by Sunderland in the Capital One Cup but Ashley Cole then attended the Libertine venue in London where the Arsenal players were celebrating. Mourinho promptly dropped Cole but is adamant this season that the players deserve a party, albeit with a shared event that will also represent a big 'thank-you' to their families.
According to Mourinho, this is because the players' families have been crucial in ensuring that his squad's preparation and recovery has been so effective. Chelsea have no injuries to senior players.
"I think it's more important what they do when they are not with us than what they do with us," said Mourinho "With us, the percentage of the day is so small that what they can do here they can destroy in one click. And they have 20 hours to do that. It's their responsibility. When they come here better today than yesterday and the recovery process is fluid, it's because they're doing that very well.
"Probably, because of that, the club is preparing a little Christmas party for them and their families. This is a squad with lots of young guys with kids a couple of weeks to 10-years-old. I think it's good for them."
Mourinho laughed and shook his head when asked if he would be donning a Father Christmas outfit. "But I think I have to go to say a couple of words and, after that, to leave them with their families and kids," he said. "There are Christmas parties and Christmas parties. This one I think the families deserve and the boys are very happy to be with their families."
Unbeaten Chelsea can extend their lead to nine points at the top of the Premier League should they beat Sunderland today and, with his team also progressing well in the Champions League, Mourinho does not want to go into the transfer market. "I don't want people to leave - I don't want people to come in," he said. "That, for me, is the perfect situation. If other teams do it in January, good for them. It will not be something I will use by saying, 'these guys spend £30million more'."
Mourinho is delighted with the team ethic at Chelsea and disparaging about individual awards following the announcement of the shortlist for Fifa's Ballon d'Or. Various Chelsea players have been nominated for the team of the year and Mourinho is among the candidates for coach of the year but he looked faintly disgusted when he was asked whether it was good recognition for Chelsea.
"This kind of trophy is not good for football," he said. "This is why I don't care about it. Sometimes it looks like we are looking for stars, we are looking for some people to be more important than others.
"In some cases, it looks like we are doing a political campaign. I have to say, in England, we have the soft ones in that campaign. In other countries, it looks like Obama is fighting again for the White House. This is not the culture we want in this club."
At Real Madrid he managed Cristiano Ronaldo, who appears to take his Ballon d'Or rivalry with Lionel Messi seriously and on the subject of his own reputation, Mourinho suggested he was not a manager "who sells smoke".
Asked who did, he added: "Lots of people in the world. Not just managers. Politicians are experts."
(© Daily Telegraph, London)
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