Jose Mourinho insisted Chelsea do not have “crying prima donnas” in their squad as he defended publicly criticising his players during what he describes as “the worst period” of his career.
The Stamford Bridge manager again hit out at some of his players after their 2-1 Champions League defeat to Porto on Tuesday and has regularly given honest assessments of his team’s recent performances.
Losing in Europe continued a dreadful start to the new campaign for Chelsea, who are 14th in the Premier League with just eight points from their first seven matches ahead of the clash with Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“I define it as the worst period in my career, with the worst results in my career,” said Mourinho. “I take it as a fantastic experience, but I don’t want to repeat it.
“I want to finish it on Saturday and start winning matches again. I think it [the poor run] comes too late, to come after 15 years is too late.
“It should happen after two, three or four but it is something that is helping me to be better. Not the hardest challenge, as I always have big challenges, just the worst results.
“I am hoping for it to be better but it has been a great negative challenge. I don’t like the position we are in, but I have adapted and am coping well.
“I have never lost so many matches, that is a fact. I like to be under pressure when I’m top of the league and the second is one point behind – not pressure like this.”
Mourinho insisted none of his players are sensitive to his critical comments and argued that pointing out negatives – like he has done with faltering full-back Branislav Ivanovic – was part of his responsibilities as a manager after newspaper reports claimed some players were unhappy with his methods.
He continued: “Players know when they make mistakes. I don’t know what it’s like in your offices, but nobody seems to care about your mistakes.
“We speak openly with each other. My players do not cry like prima donnas.
“Ivanovic likes to speak with me about mistakes. I critique him and he doesn’t cry about it like some newspapers.
“I’m critical with him and I speak with him about what he has to try to improve. I have no doubts that he is my best right-back and I also have no doubts that he has to improve in some aspects.
“In here we speak openly. We criticise people without any kind of problems and no prima donnas crying.
“When you make a mistake you have to speak about it. You know what I call that, in football? Coaching. It is called coaching.”