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Mou nurtures 'beautiful young eggs'
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho aims to nurture his young side through to the knockout stages of the Champions League after making reference to the cracks which appeared prior to his 2007 departure from Stamford Bridge.
Six years to the day since last taking charge of Chelsea in the Champions League, Mourinho's side on Wednesday night host Basle in Group E.
The Portuguese departed following a draw with Norway's Rosenberg on September 18, 2007, which extended Chelsea's winless run to three games - failure to beat Basle on Wednesday will make it four - after Mourinho delivered a scrambled message on the eve of the match.
It turned out to be a parting shot at Roman Abramovich and the owner's recruitment policy, when Mourinho said: "In the supermarket, you have eggs class one, class two, class three. Some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem."
Mourinho returned to Chelsea in June assigned with overseeing a developing squad full of potential and he appears intent on tempering expectations.
Asked what his eggs are like now, Mourinho said: "Beautiful young eggs, eggs that need a mum, in this case a dad, to take care of them, to keep them warm during the winter, to bring the blankets and to work and improve them and one day we'll arrive in a moment when the weather changes, the sun rises, we break the eggs and the eggs are ready to go for life at the top level."
Mourinho plans to select four players aged 22 or under for the Blues' first return to the Champions League since last season suffering the ignominy of becoming the first holders to exit at the group stages.
Chelsea responded by winning the Europa League - beating Basle in the semi-finals en route to the trophy - in a competition Mourinho does not want to consider this term.
"I want to try to start the group phase by winning," added Mourinho, who won the 2004 Champions League with Porto and 2010 competition with Inter Milan.
"Last season Chelsea went outside his natural habitat, which is the Champions League.
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