Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho admits he cannot keep all of his players happy, but insists the needs of the club come before the needs of the individual.
The Blues head into Monday’s fixture at Stoke City looking to re-open their three-point lead at the top of the standings, with Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday taking them level at the summit.
Mourinho has the added task of having to juggle his hugely-talented pool of players during the hectic festive schedule, but knows there is no easy way to keep every squad member satisfied.
“I think everybody has to be ready to sacrifice for the team, to give everything for the team, to think about the team, not to be selfish. This is the way I want a team to be,” he said.
“I think it is right when you say that players are unhappy or players are frustrated, that they need to be patient. I don’t have a secret to keep players happy.
“But the reality is that, to be professional and work at a high level, you don’t need to be happy. All of them are professionals.
“The team is more important than themselves, and the club (is).
“Even the ones not playing like (Mark) Schwarzer, who hasn’t played a second, but if he has to play tomorrow he would be ready. Why? Because he is very professional and he trains very well.
“We don’t have a secret to keep them happy because we don’t keep them happy. We may have a secret to make them work every day at a high level.
“It’s my decision and the players may not be happy with the decision, or not agree with the decision, but they know my decision is not to favour somebody or to punish somebody.”