ESPN FC Extra: Blues visit group leaders
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has urged his players to "play without pressure" and remove any thoughts of qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages when they take on Schalke in Germany on Tuesday night.
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An opening defeat against FC Basel at Stamford Bridge has left Chelsea with little room for further slip-ups as they prepare to take on the team leading the way in Group E, with Mourinho suggesting the moment has not come for his team to start worrying about the future in the competition.
"I don't think it's yet the time to have the calculator and to be counting the number of points you need to qualify, to be first or second or go to Europa League," he stressed.
"I think that comes on the fifth fixture. The third and fourth are fixtures, you can play just thinking about the game, trying to win and if not trying to get a point, but basically, to play without that pressure of the calculator. We lost the first at home, but won the second away so found a balance."
Mourinho admitted he "has a decision to make" at centre-back as he ponders a change following David Luiz's latest error in Saturday's Premier League game against Cardiff, yet he seemed curiously unconcerned by the absence of one of Chelsea's leading lights.
"I have to make an option for tomorrow -- I have to make a choice between David [Luiz] and Gary [Cahill]," he stated. "The players don't know yet as we have only had two days between matches and we haven't trained tactically, so when they don't know I would not like to say.
"Ashley Cole is out. That's not a big deal. A team is a squad, not 11 players, and they have a squad with players to replace. It's difficult for a team to be at maximum power, to play a match without somebody missing through injury or suspension, but no big deal. They miss a couple of players, but us too."
Mourinho went on to suggest Germany star Andre Schurrle is still adapting to English following his summer move to Chelsea, ahead of a return to his homeland on Tuesday night.
"He needs some time to adapt to a different league, a different profile of competition but he is a good player, an open kid who wants to work and to learn, so our hopes are on him," added Mourinho.
"We are happy with the investment in such a young player,' he answered, before responding to enquiries about another new recruit who has been in goalscoring form, Samuel Eto'o.
"He needs time, because in his career he played in Spain and Italy, a little bit in Russia, countries and championships different from the Premier League. Since the first day, he made an impact with the players. Everybody sees the fantastic quality he has."