Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed his plan to give the club's Copa America stars - including loan signing Radamel Falcao - more minutes in their next pre-season friendly.
South American trio Falcao, Willian and Juan Cuadrado were all given an extended summer break following their efforts in Chile, where the hosts ran out eventual winners for the first time in their history.
After arriving late for the tour of America, the trio got their first taste of action ahead of the new season in the penalty shootout victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, coming off the bench for 20 minutes in the second period before the heroics of Thibaut Courtois from the spot.
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'The Special One' now plans to up the work load of the three, believing they could now go for 30 minutes in a match environment after feeling the benefits of the recent outing in North Carolina.
“I discussed it a lot with Rui Faria (assistant coach) and we thought that 20 minutes of football is more rich, has more ingredients, than training in a small group of three," Mourinho told Chelsea TV.
“So we decided to give Falcao, Willlian and Juan Cuadrado this 20 to 25 minutes, which was very good for them.
Now, they are not ready to start but, against Barcelona, I think they can go from 20 to 30 minutes. I will give them that.”
Barca will come into the clash off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, with Rafinha the man on target for Luis Enrique's side with a fine volley.
Whilst the La Liga giants lost their last outing and the Blues won, Mourinho will be under no illusions with regards to the challenge that lies ahead for his players after the sluggish performance against PSG.
Chelsea were slow out of the blocks at the Bank of America Stadium and, whilst Mourinho feels his players are starting to pick up the pace during pre-season, he will hope to see much more with the new Premier League season less than a fortnight away.
“Paris St-Germain’s intensity was obviously much higher than ours but, as a training session and a complement for what we are doing, it was very good for us," he added.
“Step by step, the players have some more happiness in their legs. We still feel some of them have accumulation of fatigue with slow movement and slow thinking and that goal was typical - too slow to think to take the ball out of the pressure zone,
“But, step by step, we are coming.”
Chelsea begin their defence of the title with Swansea City making the trip to Stamford Bridge, before trips to Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion in subsequent weeks. Before that, they meet Arsenal in the FA Community Shield on Sunday.
Will Chelsea step up their performance against Barcelona? Can Falcao get more match fitness under his belt? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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