Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has indicated he has no plans to replace the out-of-form Branislav Ivanovic with summer signing Baba Rahman. Ivanovic has been one of the most heavily criticised members of a Chelsea team that has conceded 17 goals in the Premier League this season, the second worst record in the top flight and over half their tally from last season already.
Mourinho does have the option of taking the Serbian defender out of the firing line and bringing Cesar Azpilicueta over to right-back, making way for former Augsburg full-back Rahman to come into his natural position at left-back. But the Chelsea manager insists the Ghana international, who made his debut in the 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League, will not be considered for domestic league action just yet.
"Look, because Baba Rahman arrived in the last day, because he doesn't know what it is to play in this kind of championship. He had no pre-season with us. He needs time to learn, he needs time to adapt," Mourinho said, London 24 report.
"At the same time, every team, except Maccabi Tel Aviv, is a team of giants. And if you don't have a minimum of five tall players good in the air, you are dead in set pieces. When I play Azpilicueta on the right and Baba Rahman on the left and I don't play Ivanovic, I have only three, not even four. So we have to think about all the details. And I think about all the details."
Chelsea have endured their worst start to a season in 37 years having already lost four games – two of which coming at Stamford Bridge – leaving them 10 points adrift of early leaders Manchester City.
Following the 3-1 defeat to Southampton on 3 October, Mourinho challenged the club to sack him if they feel that is the decision that must be taken. But on 5 October, Chelsea released a statement declaring their full backing for the under-fire manager.