Mourinho's refusal to rotate hampers Chelsea

Jose Mourinho Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has hung the blame for Chelsea’s second Champions League loss to FC Basel on fatigue.

The Blues quite simply didn’t look up to the task against the reigning Swiss champions, tumbling to a 1-0 defeat on a late beauty from Mohamed Salah.

Chelsea managed only two shots on the evening, neither of which hit the target, and will find solace only in having qualified for the knockout stages due to Schalke’s scoreless draw with Steaua Bucharest in the Romanian capital.

Mourinho chose to make just a single change to the starting eleven that comprehensively beat West Ham United on Saturday as Eden Hazard stepped in for Willian, despite just two days’ rest having been available.

And the Portuguese tactician admitted that rotating his squad might have been a more prudent choice.

"There was no reaction, wrong decisions - so I am not so sad with them as I understand, the team was not fresh and maybe I should make more changes in the team,” he told Sky Sports following the final whistle.

"But when you get such a good performance against West Ham you have that temptation of playing the same team as they played so well, it is difficult to change them.

"I made one change with Eden [Hazard] as I thought he could make a difference coming form the bench but perhaps I should have changed more players.

"We should get a better result than this but I don't blame the players, we have to rest and prepare for the game at the weekend because even with the defeat because of the nine points we are through, and that is the minimum we could do and now we have to fight for the first position."

Chelsea will face Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge on December 11 with eyes on taking the top spot in Group E, and it seems that on the next time around Mourinho may more carefully consider his approach to picking his side.

Samuel Eto’o was a casualty of Tuesday’s encounter with a groin problem, having to be stretchered off in the second half, with the 80 minutes the 32-year-old Cameroonian played on Saturday likely having an affect on his susceptibility to injury.

Juan Mata warmed the bench for the entirety of the loss to Basel in a continuing subplot for the Blues, missing out again after similarly not seeing any action at the weekend.

Yet even with the disappointment of the defeat at St. Jakob-Park, Mourinho is notoriously a man of his own ways, and only time will tell if Chelsea will be hindered going forward by his distaste for rotating this Blues side or if he’ll at last place faith in his non-regular starters to get the job done.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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