BANGKOK, May 28 (Reuters) - Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has no plans to let any of his English Premier League title-winning squad depart Stamford Bridge in the close season.
The Portuguese, who steered Chelsea to a fifth English title earlier this month, said his focus was improving the players he had for the expected charge from a revitalised chasing pack come the start of the new campaign in August.
“The players I am looking for are my players,” Mourinho told reporters in Bangkok ahead of Saturday’s exhibition match against the Thai All-Star.
“They are the players I don’t want to lose, the players I don’t want to sell, the players I want to keep, the players I want to improve.”
Despite Mourinho’s claims, back-up goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to depart after losing his place in the first team to Thibaut Courtois, while the Portuguese boss has seen player of the year Eden Hazard linked with a move away.
Chelsea moved on a number of players last season including Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Andre Schurrle, Ryan Bertrand, David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku amongst others but Mourinho said that was the end of the wholesale changes.
“Last season was a different picture because I had players in my squad that I was really keen to sell,” the Portuguese said.
“I thought they were not the right people in our group for different reasons. Some ‘footballistically’ and some also by human qualities.”
But he did not rule out the possibility of making summer signings, saying it would be normal for the club to bring in “two or three players,” to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
“It’s very difficult to win back-to-back titles,” said the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto boss.
“We know all the big clubs, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man United, Man City and Arsenal, are not happy and they will try to react, so obviously we need to be better next season than we were this season.”
After visiting Thailand, Chelsea will continue their pre-season tour in Australia and the United States. (Editing by Patrick Johnston)