Jose Mourinho has called on his Chelsea stars to show their killer instinct as the Blues look to clinch qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League at Basel on Tuesday.
Mourinho’s team can guarantee their place in the knock-out stages with a draw in Switzerland, while a victory would ensure they are certain to finish top of Group E ahead of their final fixture against Steaua Bucharest.
That clash with Steaua comes in the middle of a busy December for Chelsea and Mourinho would prefer to be able to rest players when the Romanians visit Stamford Bridge.
With that in mind, Mourinho on Monday challenged his players to show they can finish off Basle, who are four points behind Chelsea in third place.
“It’s a period I like,” Mourinho said of the hectic fixture December schedule. “It’s a period where I think only the braves can survive because it’s hard.
“We go into the Christmas period and the accumulation of matches is so high, but we do it as a special group with a special mentality, enjoying the situation, forgetting we don’t have a Christmas (break) like the Spanish, Italian and German players.
“I enjoyed the busy period when I was in England and I missed it when I was in Spain and Italy.
“Now I’m back I want to enjoy it, I want the players to enjoy it, and we need a special mentality to cope with that situation.
“Nine matches and one of them is the match against Steaua. That’s our motivation for tomorrow (Tuesday), to try to kill the situation in the group phase and give us a little bit of space in December; instead of having nine real, competitive matches, we only have eight.”
Mourinho looks in the mood for the battle ahead after trimming his hair to a ultra-short crew cut during the recent international break.
The former Real Madrid boss borrowed hair clippers from Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, cut his hair himself and then sent a picture to his wife for her approval before heading home.
Asked why he cut his hair, Mourinho said: “Some people can’t do what I did. In a couple of months I’ll have hair again. Some other people cannot do it.
“I decided to do it. I asked Fernando to give me his machine and I did it myself in front of the mirror. It’s nice and cheap.
“Mrs Mourinho, I sent a picture before I arrived at home to see if I could go in. Yes, no problem.”