According to Jose Mourinho, Shevchenko has finally ‘got the message’ following Chelsea’s Carling Cup victory over Wycombe last night. Apparently, his two goals against the league two outfit provided the Chelsea boss with evidence that his £30 million pound striker had at last understood what was expected of him as a Chelsea player.

"I was happy with Andriy's performance - he gave me more than I demanded. He will now play in Sunday's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest.
"His attitude was good. He is learning and he showed he gets the message."

Given the circumstances, we cannot be 100% certain of what it is the Ukrainian is supposed to have understood. With only 3 league goals to his name this season, it’s presumably something to do with a need to score more goals. However, having scored over 150 league goals in Italy, one would have thought that this requirement was not something that he grasped for the first time last night. And, two goals against a side struggling to escape the lowest tier of the football league, is hardly an achievement to keep the doubters at bay. Although Shevchenko is without question a world-class player, being told this by the manager of Wycombe will not be enough to rebuild his shattered confidence.

It is far more probable, therefore, that Mourinho was alluding to Shevchenko’s need to fall in line, embrace the Special One’s team ethic and distance himself from his Russian employer. Newspaper reports that the Ukrainian striker was a mole in the Chelsea camp had clearly affected their close-knit squad and had almost certainly distanced the player from his teammates. The chilly atmosphere came to a head at Anfield this weekend, as Mourinho’s dissatisfaction turned into outward disaffection when he refused to shake the Ukrainian’s hand following Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool. Mourinho’s anger certainly had nothing to do with the player’s performance on the pitch. He had come on as a late substitute and could not be deemed responsible for Chelsea’s lacklustre display.

Mourinho’s warm response last night was perhaps indicative that the manager himself has had a change of heart regarding his future at Chelsea Football Club. Over the last few weeks he has cut a forlorn figure, sniping at his employers and dropping unsubtle hints that he feels his position has been undermined. Last night, however, he came out fighting, issuing a clear sack-me-if-you-dare message to Abramovich. Recounting an earlier conversation with John Terry, Mourinho let it be known that should he be shown the exist door at Stamford Bridge, irreplaceable members of the squad may well follow him through it.

"When JT tells me, before he signs his new contract, because he has almost signed it, when he tells me it would be very difficult for him to play for another manager in his career, it is because he accepts my philosophy and it is the way he feels. He feels comfortable," Mourinho said.

Nothing the Special One says is without prior calculation, even if he sometimes gives the impression of opening his mouth before his brain has clicked into gear. This was nothing short of a thinly veiled warning to the powers that be at Stamford Bridge and leads to the conclusion that despite reports suggesting that Mourinho has already made up his mind to leave the club this summer, he has decided himself that his best opportunities for future success - especially in the Champion’s League – lie with Chelsea. And if he has to play arguably the world’s most acclaimed striker in order to keep his job, then this is a sacrifice he is prepared to make!