Mou ready for teams 'parking the bus'
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted his side needs to combat teams that deploy defensive tactics to nullify their attacking threat if they are to mount a successful challenge for this season's Premier League title.
Mourinho has proved himself to be a master of diluting attack minded sides with his own tactician acumen in the last decade, but he has warned his team that they need to have an answer to teams who use similar tactics against them.
It was Mourinho who coined the phase 'parking the bus' to describe teams who do all they can to block their route to goal and show little attacking ambition in their own right and he believes games against that kind of negative tactics could be crucial to his side's hopes of Premier League glory.
Dropped points against the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa and Sunderland cost Chelsea in the in the race for English football's top prize last season and he hopes his players will not make the same mistakes this term.
"We've been working on playing against a team who are defensive, trying to close every road to goal. We have to improve in terms of character, but we need more quality," Mourinho is quoted in the Daily Mirror ahead of his side's Premier League opener at Burnley on Monday.
"In certain matches, when you don't have space and time to play, you need more quality. We are working in that direction, to play against teams who are very compact, to play against teams with ten players behind the ball.
"We have worked on exactly that in training, expecting a team to be defensive and try to close every road to goal.
"The team as a team has to be better in these matches. We have to be a better team than we were last season and I believe these players can help us."
Mourinho reiterated his suggestion that his side is now more complete that it was when they went close to Premier League glory last season, but he suggested his team are far from being the finished article following the summers signings of Cesc Fabregas, Filipe Luis, Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.
"My squad is very good, not perfect, but it's very good," he added. "It has characters and personalities, it has people with ambition. We covered many positions. I'm very happy with the squad.
"We have an improvement in the goalkeeper group [with Thibaut Courtois' return from his loan spell]. We have improved in defence also because we got Kurt Zouma and Filipe Luis and that gives us more balance.
"Filipe is a pure left-back which allows Cesar Azpilicueta to play on the right and Branislav Ivanovic can play in the centre, so that gives us more options.
"Cesc is the kind of player that we didn't have. We had a box-to-box, a runner, a stable player. We never had this kind of football brain so that has improved.
"Costa has the power, mobility and technical quality that improves the team. Didier is still a player with important qualities and he has a special feeling in the group to persuade people to work hard.
"It's a squad in development, obviously, but it's a squad with more experience, more balance, a second year of work. It's a squad and team with conditions to be better."