LONDON, January 5 – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says his squad were capable of challenging for four different trophies after their 3-0 victory over second-tier Watford in the FA Cup third round.
Three goals in 14 second-half minutes from Willian, Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma were enough to see Chelsea comfortably through in Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho was even afforded the luxury of resting some of his jaded first-team players.
Winning four trophies in a season remains a tall order, particularly as Chelsea have seen their eight-point advantage at the top of the Premier League eroded away by Manchester City in the last month.
The next month could decide their fate, with six games still looming, but Mourinho believes his side can manage the heavy workload after backing his second-string to help maintain their challenge on four different fronts.
“I had to play with some of my fundamental players because we don’t want to throw away any competition,” he said.
“We want to play every competition trying always to go to the next step. We have to do what we did today (Sunday): make some changes, keep some players on the bench.
“This time it was (Cesc) Fabregas and (Eden) Hazard I didn’t include. Maybe in the next match Fabregas and Eden have to play, like they did against Derby (in the League Cup quarter-finals), and leave somebody else out.
“But we are doing fine. Today I could give total rest to some. I could leave on the bench Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic without playing one.
“I will do the same with the others. Maybe next time Diego (Costa) is not one who is not selected, or Gary Cahill. So no problem. We are fine. No injuries. Everyone is good.”
– Schwarzer to leave –
Mourinho had feared the demanding mid-season fixture schedule could have left his side vulnerable to an FA Cup giant-killing.
But there was never the slightest hint of an upset against Watford, which served to underline the strength in depth at his disposal.
A welcome rest now awaits before Chelsea return to Premier League action against Newcastle United and Mourinho is not looking too far ahead.
“I’m confident we can win against Newcastle next week,” said the Portuguese, whose side had gone down 5-3 at Tottenham Hotspur in their previous game.
“That is the only thing I’m fully confident over. We don’t go for four competitions, we go for the next match. And Newcastle is the next match.
“After that Swansea and we will be very confident there. After that, match by match.”
Mourinho confirmed that veteran Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is leaving, amid reports linking him to Leicester City, meaning that Petr Cech will remain at Stamford Bridge in January.
“There is no chance he will go,” Mourinho said of Cech. “I will bring Jamal Blackman back from Middlesbrough. He can stay with Thibaut Courtois and Petr, which is a good experience for him.”
Watford bowed out of the competition, but manager Slavisa Jokanovic has bigger fish to fry as he aims for promotion to the Premier League.
“If we want to come back to a stadium like this, arrive at Stamford Bridge again, we have a chance in front of us and we must do everything to make those steps,” said Jokanovic.
“The FA Cup is over for us. We must focus on what is important now: the Championship.”