By Ori Lewis
HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) – Chelsea are growing in confidence after a poor start to the season and optimistic for Champions League qualification ahead of Tuesday’s tie against last-placed Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, manager Jose Mourinho said.
The Blues beat Norwich 1-0 courtesy of a Diego Costa goal on Saturday to end a run of three straight Premier League defeats and climb to 15th in the table.
Chelsea are three points behind leaders Porto and two points clear of Dynamo Kiev, with Maccabi yet to record a win in Champions League Group G.
“We did well against Norwich and we did well in previous matches when we lost. The players are getting their confidence back,” Mourinho told a news conference on Monday.
“We know we had bad results for a significant period of time and we need to keep getting results for our happiness, our pride and obviously for Chelsea fans.”
Mourinho, 52, has been under pressure for most of this season and recently said the chances of Chelsea retaining their Premier League title was now “mission impossible”.
The Portuguese is comfortable with Chelsea’s Champions League progress, with only one defeat in four matches — against Porto on Sept. 28.
“We haven’t qualified yet but we are OK, everything is in our hands. If we play like we have been doing we can win,” Mourinho added.
“It’s simple. If we lose, we are in trouble. If we draw, we can qualify in the last game. If we win, great chance to finish first.”
Chelsea’s final Champions League group match is a home fixture against Porto on Dec. 9.
(Writing by Rob Hodgetts; editing by Justin Palmer)