LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, famous for often surreal quotes, returned to a favourite theme on Tuesday when he described his players as "beautiful, young eggs".
After telling a news conference that he planned to field four players under 22 against Basel in the Champions League game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Mourinho was asked about the quality of his squad.
Reprising a theme from six years ago, when he complained about having to make do with inferior players in his first Chelsea stint, the Portuguese said his current squad were "beautiful, young eggs.
"Eggs that need a mum, in this case a dad, to take care of them, to keep them warm during the winter, to bring the blankets and to work to improve them," he continued smilingly as journalists chuckled.
"One day will arrive the moment when the weather changes, the sun rises, you break the eggs and the eggs are ready to go for life at the top level."
In 2007, near the end of his previous spell at Chelsea, Mourinho famously complained about financial constraints at the Premier League club by saying: "In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and 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."
Mourinho's new Chelsea have Brazil playmaker Willian, forward Andre Schurrle, Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel, Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and veteran Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o, all signed since the end of last season.
Mourinho confirmed Brazilian Oscar and record goalscorer Frank Lampard, both midfielders, would start the group game but said he had not yet told the other players if they would be picked. (Writing by Clare Fallon, Editing by Justin Palmer)