Mourinho will keep the veteran centre-half as club captain as he returns to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid but made it clear that having the armband does not necessarily make him a regular first eleven player.
"Last time (I was manager), John was the captain by a club decision because he was born in this club, also, his personality on the pitch," said Mourinho.
"I did a simple consultation with the players, and everyone agreed on that.
"At this moment, when you say 'my captain', it's not the real world. He is more Chelsea captain. 'My captain' is the board's captain, the fans' captain. I don't think the manager's captain is the correct word.
"John is the club captain. I am more than happy with that, so are the fans, so I think he has to be the club captain.
"With the armband? Only if he plays. If he isn't in the starting XI, he won't have the armband.
"I have not thought about that (who else would take over), but it has to be like that."