Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea can overcome their underdog status to win the Champions League after a 2-0 win over his former club Porto sealed top spot in Group G.
Chelsea are toiling domestically but responded to an eighth Premier League defeat of the season against Bournemouth with a victory which sealed their place in the last 16.
“A team struggling so much like we are is not obviously a candidate to win the Champions League,” said Mourinho, twice a winner of the competition as a manager.
“But when we won at Porto in 2004 we were not candidates. When we won at Inter (Milan) in 2010 we were not candidates.
“When we were candidates we lost two semi-finals with Real Madrid, we lost two semi-finals with Chelsea, so let’s see. You never know.”
Chelsea can play Paris Saint-Germain – for a third straight season – PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Juventus, Roma or Gent in the next round.
“I think everybody wants to play us,” Mourinho added.
“They don’t want to play Barcelona, they don’t want to play Real Madrid, they don’t want to play Atletico (Madrid), they don’t want to play Bayern (Munich).
“Every team finishing second want to get us, they want to get Zenit (St Petersburg).”
With the competition not due to resume until February, Mourinho will now focus on attempting to overturn his side’s domestic troubles.
The Blues could be in the bottom three by the time they next play at Leicester on Monday, but Mourinho is not giving up on a place in the top four, despite being 14 points adrift after 15 games.
“While mathematically it’s still possible, let’s fight every game for every point and see if it’s possible to finish fourth,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho pleased with Costa performance
Chelsea had some good fortune early on against Porto when Iker Casillas saved Diego Costa’s shot and the ball ricocheted in off Ivan Marcano.
And when Willian, Chelsea’s star player this season, doubled the lead seven minutes into the second half, Mourinho turned towards his son seated behind the dugout and punched the air in defiance. Stamford Bridge sang his name and Abramovich applauded.
Chelsea, and in particular the recalled Costa, could have scored more.
“He could have scored two or three goals today,” Mourinho said.
“His lack of confidence? Yes, clearly. But his attitude was very good and his movement was much better.
“The first goal was an own goal but his movement is great, the pass arrives. Last season he would score immediately. This season he couldn’t.
“In the second half he faced the keeper on his own. You could immediately feel the lack of confidence because the first thing he does is not to look at the goal.
“The first thing he does is to look to the linesman. And when he looks to the linesman he loses one important second or fraction and then his last touch on the ball is not the best touch.
“Goals are coming.”
Lopetegui rues ‘unlucky’ goal
Porto boss Julen Lopetegui rued a second loss of the season which saw his side finish third and drop into the Europa League.
“I am sad about the result,” he said.
“We had three or four dangerous situations and an unlucky situation where the game changed completely.
“We are disappointed about the result. We knew it was a hard match. We believed we could do it. It didn’t happen.”