Chelsea skipper John Terry was unexpectedly named on the bench for his side’s Premier League home game against Arsenal on Saturday, with Branislav Ivanovic taking the captain’s armband.
The 34-year-old centre-back sat out Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League on Wednesday, but whereas Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa, who were also rested, returned to the starting XI to face Arsenal, Terry did not.
“John Terry is a tactical decision,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “I have three central defenders and I trust them all the same. I have tried reading the opponent and what they can bring.”
Defending champions Chelsea have made their worst start to a league season in 29 years, picking up four points from five games, and have conceded 12 goals — more than any other team in the division.
Pedro overcame a thigh problem to replace Willian, who has a hamstring injury, while Oscar shrugged off a knee injury to start at number 10.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made six changes to the team beaten 2-1 by Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, with Theo Walcott preferred to Olivier Giroud up front.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech was also recalled on his return to the club where he spent 11 years.
Mourinho and Wenger put their personal antipathy aside to shake hands ahead of the match.
Wenger swerved an opportunity to shake Mourinho’s hand after Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield last month, while the pair clashed on the touchline in last season’s equivalent fixture.
But Mourinho waited for Wenger at the exit of the tunnel prior to kick-off at Stamford Bridge and the pair performed a perfunctory handshake before taking their seats.