Mar 19, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT
A triumphant Jose Mourinho has sent a warning message out to the rest of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League competitors: “We are back where we belong.”
After the West London club ominously swept aside a lackluster Galatasaray side in their last 16 tie, Mourinho’s men sealed qualification to the UCL quarterfinals for the eight time in the last 11 seasons.
That, according to Chelsea’s outspoken Portuguese manager, is where the Blues deserve to be.
“We are a Champions League club and now we are among the best eight, the best clubs in the world,” Mourinho told reporters after the game. “The players deserve to be there. To come from the Europa League to the quarterfinals of the Champions League is important for the club, important for the players.”
There’s no doubt Chelsea belong in the Champions League, the caliber of their players, manager and the entire mood of the club is built on winning trophies and competing with Europe’s best. After last season’s embarrassment of being knocked out of the UCL at the group stages, the Blues still recovered to win the Europa League crown. But Mourinho is right, the UCL is where Chelsea belong.
Can they win the damn thing? Let’s reserve judgement on that, for now. Plenty are calling Chelsea ‘dark horses’ for the title, but with largely the same squad intact from the side that beat Bayern Munich in the memorable 2011-12 final. Throw in plenty of talented young additions, who learned their lesson of the UCL’s ruthlessness last year, and Chelsea are in with a decent shout. Here are my three thoughts on how they can win the title.
If the ‘Special One’ is happy where his side are at, while sending a sly message out to owner Roman Abramovich that he has Chelsea back on track. It seems as though Chelsea have reclaimed their status among Europe’s elite by making the last eight of the UCL once again.
Not that their status as a top club was ever in any doubt… but Jose just likes to reminds us.
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