Jose Mourinho expects Chelsea to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League despite opening their Group E campaign with a 2-1 defeat at home to Basle.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Marco Streller, after Oscar had put Chelsea in front, saw Basle win in England for the first time at the 11th attempt and end the Blues’ near 10-year, 29-match unbeaten home run in the Champions League group stages.
Mourinho’s side next travel to Steaua Bucharest, who beat the Blues in Romania earlier this year, before twice tackling Schalke in a group they were expected to breeze through.
“The objective of finishing in the top two in the group phase and to go to the next stage of the Champions League is an objective that is not lost, far from it,” Mourinho said.
“It’s an objective we’re going to fight for and it’s an objective that I believe very, very much that we’re going to achieve.
“We lost three points that we must get somewhere. We must get them, (in) Basle, or Schalke, or Bucharest, or all of them or some of them.
“Normally you have to win the matches at home and get a few points away.
“Now we must win six points at home, Schalke and Steaua, but we have also to win points away. Probably we have to go to win at Basle to compensate for the defeat.”
Chelsea suffered the ignominy of becoming the first holders to exit the tournament at the group stage last term before beating Steaua and Basle en route to winning the Europa League.
Mourinho, who is not prepared to ponder another spell in the Europa League, accepted full responsibility for the defeat, which followed a loss at Everton and extended the winless run to four games ahead of Saturday’s west London derby with Fulham.
“When we lose, I am the responsible (one),” said Mourinho, who did not see onlooking Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.
Mourinho has placed emphasis on youth, even though his team has enormous experience, including Samuel Eto’o, who was ineffective.
Mourinho stressed his happiness with his strike options, after leaving Fernando Torres out of the squad and bringing Demba Ba off the bench, but admitted Cameroon forward Eto’o may be lacking the sharpness displayed for Barcelona and Inter Milan after a spell in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala, where he commanded a vast salary.
Mourinho said: “The sharpness, that click to score, we have to wait. But he’s a great player and he will score goals.”