LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea will face Schalke 04 without injured striker Fernando Torres and manager Jose Mourinho said any other team changes he makes must not be seen as punishment for the weekend’s defeat by Newcastle United that he was so scathing of.
The London club will be seeking to put behind them Saturday’s 2-0 loss at St James’ Park that prompted Mourinho to say he had made “11 mistakes” in his team selection when they host Schalke in Champions League Group E.
The Portuguese said his opinion had not changed on his side’s performance that ended a run of six successive wins in all competitions but that it was time to move on.
“I don’t want people to see the changes I make tomorrow as though someone’s paying for the defeat at Newcastle because that’s not the case,” Mourinho told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I read a game once, twice, or three times and how players performed, and after that you have to make changes, not to punish people, completely far from it, but to try to get the best team to win the game.”
Victory against the German club would send Chelsea clear at the top of the group but Mourinho will be unable to call on rejuvenated Torres to help them do the job.
“Fernando Torres is out, we need to wait for the scans tomorrow,” the manager said of the striker who has failed to recover from a thigh injury.
“It is easy to say he is out tomorrow and Saturday (against West Bromwich Albion in the league) too and then comes the international break, let us see if he can recover in that period.”
The Spain international’s absence is a blow as he has been in sparkling form of late, scoring twice in the 3-0 win at Schalke two weeks ago and also the winner against Premier League rivals Manchester City.
Mourinho added that defender Ryan Bertrand had also been ruled out of the European match after picking up an injury in training on Tuesday.
He urged his players to remember what they had been doing right to string together a good winning run and also what they had done wrong against Newcastle so that they could get back on track on Wednesday.
“My bad reaction with the players was not after the game, it was at halftime because I was feeling the mentality was not the best,” he said.
“Sometimes, when you win a lot players forget why they’ve won, probably they forgot why they won three, four, or five matches, why they won against Schalke, Arsenal and Man City, they think they won just because they are good.
“But there are many other ingredients in football matches which make you a consistent winner. I hope they don’t forget why they won a lot of matches and why they lost against Newcastle, if they have that in their mind we are fine.”
Chelsea and Schalke are tied on six points from three matches in Group E. Basel have four and Steaua Bucharest one.
Writing by Pritha Sarkar and Sonia Oxley; Editing by Justin Palmer