Jose Mourinho's midweek selection hinted at a team looking for momentum and one in desperate need of form

Mourinho Dugout

One win in their last seven games, it was of little surprise that Mourinho sought a boost during a key period in Chelsea's season.

One of the most striking, and perhaps unsurprising things about Jose Mourinho's team selection on Tuesday night at Stoke City was how many senior Chelsea players were given a start.

It has been well documented how miserable things have been for the reigning Premier League champions, having recorded three wins and lost five of their opening 10 games of the campaign to find themselves in 15th place.

The Potters added to that misery last night with a penalty shoot-out win after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes, with Jack Butland's save from Eden Hazard's spot-kick the decisive moment to sent the holders tumbling out of the competition at the fourth round.

The title-winning centre-back pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill started, with Kurt Zouma resuming his duties at right-back as he has done recently, while a front four featuring their top scorer from last season in Diego Costa and Player of the Year Eden Hazard started alongside the influential Oscar and Chelsea's best attacking threat so far this season in Willian.

It was clear that Mourinho was seeking momentum ahead of a big game against Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime. At the moment, the Blues are something of a wounded animal, and the Reds must be aware of that fact going into the game, but still some of the faults remain. 

Chelsea did look more of a threat in the final third, Butland was tested on several occasions, and they can perhaps consider themselves unlucky to have fallen behind to a terrific goal from Jonathan Walters. Fans must be thinking that they all seem to be going in against their side at the moment. 

There was the odd run from midfielders beyond the defensive line, but nowhere near enough in order to sustain an assault on Stoke's back line. They were improved, for sure, and it does feel like Mourinho is trying to rediscover the style that allowed his side to motor at the start of last season and have the destination of the Premier League title near enough wrapped up come March. 

But what he can't do is drastically change his team. There are green shoots of recovery, and even though confidence is low, this side knows they have the ability to go on a season-changing winning run. 

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