Jose Mourinho refused to talk about Belgian youngster, Kevin de Bruyne, ahead of Chelsea’s must-win Champions League tie at Steaua Bucharest.
De Bruyne has been in poor form, after all the hype that surrounded him at the beginning of the season, and he was left in London to ponder where it’s all gone wrong.
His agent says that he is unhappy at the moment, but will fight for his future at the Bridge. Unfortunately, he will not get the chance to prove his mettle in Romania tonight.
Pressing questions about de Bruyne forced Mou to exit his pre-match press conference after just 15 minutes, and trudge onto the rain-sodden training pitch.
But not before he had fielded queries about Chelsea’s status in the Champions League.
Nobody would have imagined that their trip to Bucharest would weigh so heavily upon them. But after they were shocked at home by Basel in their opening group stage game, another defeat could leave their competition hopes precariously in the balance.
The deep reaches of the Champions League have become The Special One’s natural habitat, and he is in danger of suffering an ignominious early elimination, unless Chelsea win well away tonight.
Steaua are in good form in their domestic league, and are unbeaten in seven games. They will be confident after watching the Blues sink against Basel, and considering that they beat Chelsea under Rafa Benitez six months ago.
And while Chelsea managed to reverse the result at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho thinks their initial defeat against the Romanians will stand them in good stead.
"That's good for me," said Mourinho, recalling last season’s defeat against Steaua.
"They lost, they know why they lost, they know it's not easy and that this will be difficult again.
“In terms of concentration and motivation, maybe we are one step ahead from last season. Maybe last season came as a bit more of a surprise. This season they know they're going to play against a good team."
Meanwhile, Chelsea will be without Eden Hazard for the match in Romania, after he suffered an ankle injury in the draw with Spurs at the weekend.
While Fernando Torres is likely to find out just hours before the game if he faces a four-match domestic ban for clawing Jan Vertonghen in the face.