Jose Mourinho believes his pragmatic approach in recent weeks has been necessary to bring success to Chelsea.
Upon his return to Stamford Bridge in June, Mourinho had a wealth of attacking talent available to him, including Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata.
Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle were added to the forward ranks as Chelsea started the season playing an expansive 4-2-3-1 system.
Consistency was tough to find early on for the London club though, as they fell to two defeats against Basel in the UEFA Champions League and suffered reverses at Newcastle United and Stoke City domestically.
Mata’s sale to Manchester United and a subsequent switch to 4-3-3 – the system used by the Portuguese in his hugely successful first spell at Chelsea – has yielded better results, as Chelsea made the Champions League semi-finals and remain in the hunt for the Premier League title.
Mourinho has been pilloried for a seemingly negative outlook recently against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, but he feels his tactics have been justified.
“I feel that in a conscious way I knew what I was doing at a certain moment of the season,” he told the club’s official website.
“I made the decision to stop the evolution in the style of play and I went in a direction that with these players we have we could get results.
“I felt we couldn’t arrive where we did in the Champions League if we didn’t change our style of play. The team became more strategical and less intuitive because we went for results.
“There was a moment where I felt this Premier League was so dangerous that it was a big risk for every one of the big teams to be out of the top four. The reality is that this Premier League is a big risk and next season will be the same.
“Man United are out, I think Arsenal will do it but they were in trouble, Everton are a threat, Tottenham are a threat.”
Mourinho believes his top performers this season have been in defence, and hailed his backline’s efforts when facing some of the game’s most potent attacks.
He added: “When everybody thinks about players of the season people normally go to the creative ones and strikers. I look to (Cesar) Azpilicueta, (Gary) Cahill, (John) Terry, (Branislav) Ivanovic, they had an amazing season.
“Look how many goals the Liverpool strikers score, they didn’t score against Chelsea. You see how many goals Diego Costa has scored this season but over two games he only scored a penalty against Chelsea.”