Jose Mourinho has played down claims of ructions in his Chelsea squad – and has once again defended the form of Branislav Ivanovic.
The Premier League champions have endured a woeful start to the season, with Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat in Porto the Blues’ fifth loss in 11 games, including the Community Shield, this season.
Chelsea’s poor form has led to many suggesting the morale at the club is at an all-time low, while some players are said to have grown frustrated at Mourinho’s player scapegoating.
But the Chelsea manager insists his players remain reunited and there are open communication between his players and management.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday evening’c clash with Southampton, Mourinho said: “Porto was a difficult game. We defended well generally but made two big mistakes [which led to goals].
“Those who made a big mistake in Porto know they did and we all speak about it. It’s called coaching.
“There is open communication between everyone here, with no crying and no prima donnas.”
He added: “Straight after the match is a time to calm down and go home. The days following are when to discuss a game.”
Ivanovic’s form this season has come under mouting scrutiny and the papers all agreed he was the worst player on the night as Chelsea lost to Porto.
But Mourinho insists Ivanovic remains Chelsea’s best option at right-back, but admits his form, like many of his team-mates, must improve.
“He (Ivanovic) likes to speak with me about mistakes. But I have no doubt Ivanovic is my best right-back. I also have no doubt he needs to improve his form.”
He added: “The pressure we’re under is fine. I cope well with it and want the next match to come.
“I like to be under pressure when I’m top of the league and the second is one point behind, that’s the pressure I like.”
Mourinho added: “Every player wants to play but they are all respectful and the other players when they are not.
“It’s more important the fans support [the likes of] John Terry when he is not playing than when he is playing.
Pushed on whether he is ready for a recall, he said: “He’s ready every game to play, even the ones I leave him on the bench.”
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