Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he will take no consolation in dropping to the Europa League if his side lose to Porto on Wednesday.
The Blues face a crucial Champions League clash against the Portuguese coach’s former club, knowing that a defeat coupled with a Dynamo Kiev win over Maccabi Tel Aviv would send them out.
It was suggested to Mourinho that the Europa League would give Chelsea their most realistic chance of making next season’s Champions League, given that the club’s chances of a top-four Premier League finish are looking slim.
The 52-year-old, though, insists he wants to be playing the best teams in the top competition, meaning his team have to get a result against Porto.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference, Mourinho said: “I know that in this moment, it looks that to win the Europa League would be an easier way to be in the Champions League next season than to finish in the top four.
“But there is another possibility, which is to win the Champions League. Yes, it is harder than winning the Europa League, but this is the competition where we are.
“I was always against the teams that are knocked out of the Champions League going to the Europa League because I think there is such a difference in the level of competition.
“It is not fair for the teams that are in the Europa League to do the group phase then in February to get the teams that are knocked out of the Champions League.
“I think if you are knocked out of the Champions League, you should go home and focus on domestic competitions.
“We want to play Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern – we want to play all the big teams and for that we need to win on Wednesday.”
Mourinho feels he is continuing to improve as a manager because of Chelsea’s struggles.
He continued: “As a manager I think makes me better, because it is the first time for me.
“It is a new experience, something I was not used to. I never thought I would be so strong and so highly motivated to another defeat and the next morning I wake up again with even more desire to go and work.
“So it made me know myself a little bit better than before. I found myself stronger than I thought because when you win all the time it is a wonderful life. When you have bad results it is more difficult and I found myself really strong – it is a good experience.”