Mour­inho fo­cused on Schalke not Di Mat­teo

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

Gelsenkirchen as Group G lead­ers, three points clear of their sec­ond­placed Ger­man hosts, but the Premier League side have a much bet­ter goal dif­fer­ence.

Di Mat­teo has won all four of his home matches since tak­ing charge of Schalke last month and is in his first role since be­ing sacked by Chelsea in Novem­ber 2012, just six months after win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle.

Mour­inho clearly did not like to be re­minded that he will be up against the only coach to bring the Cham­pi­ons League to Stam­ford Bridge and in­sisted it is Chelsea against Schalke, not him against Di Mat­teo.

“I don’t play against him,” said Mour­inho dryly. “If I play against him, he wins be­cause he plays bet­ter than me. Un­less I am fit­ter, which I don’t know, but nor­mally he wins be­cause he is much bet­ter than me.

“It is Chelsea against Schalke, it is not me against Di Mat­teo.”

Schalke earned a point at Stam­ford Bridge in Septem­ber, be­fore Di Mat­teo took charge, when Cesc Fabre­gas’ early goal for the hosts was can­celled out by Klaas-Jan Hun­te­laar’s sec­ond­half equaliser.

Mour­inho said his team’s aim is to fin­ish top of their group and have their place in the knock-out stage con­firmed as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“The group is easy to an­a­lyse, we can fin­ish first, sec­ond or third,” he said. “To fin­ish third and go to the Europa League should be some­thing that would be against the evo­lu­tion of this team.

“This team wants to be a very good team and to be a very good team you have to play against the best teams in the best com­pe­ti­tions.”

Di Mat­teo’s Schalke en­joyed a 3-2 win over Wolfs­burg on Satur­day, which ended Wolves’ eight­match win­ning streak and pushed the Royal Blues up to sev­enth in the ta­ble.

The Ital­ian, also a for­mer Chelsea player, said there will be no room for sen­ti­ment to­day.

“For me per­son­ally, I’ll just con­cen­trate on my work of try­ing to win the game for Schalke. Chelsea also played on Satur­day and they are in the same po­si­tion as us in terms of re­cov­ery,” he said.

Di Mat­teo, has said he is con­sid­er­ing us­ing the 5-3-2 for­ma­tion which worked well against Wolves, with full­backs At­suto Uchida of Ja­pan and Aus­tria’s Christian Fuchs given li­cence to at­tack.

It paid off ini­tially as Schalke raced into a 3-0 lead with Cameroon striker Eric Choupo-Mot­ing scor­ing twice and Fuchs fir­ing home a free-kick be­fore Wolfs­burg fought back.

Chelsea have Costa back to full fit­ness with the 11-goal striker say­ing he is “to­tally re­cov­ered” from nag­ging groin and ham­string in­juries after a fort­night of rest. – Sapa-AFP

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