José Mourinho wants Chelsea 'young eggs' to go far in Champions League

• Mourinho revisits metaphor that was no yolk six years ago
• Chelsea face Basel with manager proud of 'beautiful eggs'

Six years to the day since José Mourinho's frustration with life at Chelsea prompted bizarre talk of different classes of egg, quality of omelettes and an inability to shop at Waitrose, the Portuguese has marked his return to the Champions League in charge of the club by revisiting one of his more celebrated pre-match analogies and claimed he is now nurturing "beautiful, young eggs" in need of a father figure.

Mourinho, exasperated at the time by a shift in Roman Abramovich's recruitment policy that had seen a quartet of free transfers bolster his squad in the summer of 2007, had reacted to an injury crisis at Stamford Bridge before a group game against Rosenberg by lurching into his metaphor to illustrate the lack of options available to him.

"If you have no eggs, you have no omelette," he said that night. "And it depends upon the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket you have Class One, Class Two and Class Three eggs. 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."

A little over 48 hours after that thinly veiled criticism, and with the Norwegians having drawn with Chelsea in the interim, the manager was relieved of his duties, with his relationship with Abramovich apparently cracked beyond repair. But now, having already confirmed that he would start with four players who are 22 or under against Basel in Wednesday's opening Group E fixture, the manager was more positive about the state of the eggs he has inherited this time around.

"Beautiful, young eggs," he said. "Eggs that need a mum or, in this case, a dad to take care of them, to keep them warm during the winter, to bring the blanket and work and improve them. One day the moment will arrive when the weather changes, the sun rises, you break the eggs and the eggs are ready to go for life at the top level."

Players such as Marco van Ginkel and Kevin De Bruyne are expected to join Oscar and Eden Hazard in the side to play the Swiss as Chelsea seek a morale-boosting victory after three games without a win.

Mourinho, who has claimed this trophy for Porto and Internazionale but was twice frustrated by Liverpool in the semi-finals while with Chelsea, has insisted that lifting the trophy is far from an "obsession" this time around with his target, initially, merely to emerge from the section and reach the knockout phases.

"I want to qualify because that would be important for everyone, not least for this team of kids," he added. "If you think, as we do in the club, about the evolution of the players and the team, it's important for them to play on a big stage like the Champions League. We don't think the Europa League is the best habitat for players who we want to be big players. They have to play Champions League."

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