Jose Mourinho plays down title hopes
Spurs haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in 24 years
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho played down his team’s Premier League title hopes yesterday, saying their position at the top of the table was “unrealistic” because they have played more matches than Manchester City.
Chelsea, who host fifth place Tottenham Hotspur today, lead the standings with 63 points with 10 matches to play, four more than second place Liverpool and Arsenal in third.
They are six points clear of Manchester City, who are playing Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup tomorrow and will have played three games fewer than Chelsea by the end of the weekend.
“We expect a very tough game against a very good Tottenham team who are fifth and so are the biggest threat to the top four teams,” said Mourinho.
“We want to guarantee our top-four place and win, but I keep saying, the position at the top is not a realistic situation.
“It is realistic when all the teams have played the same number of matches and then you can say ‘I am in front, I am behind’, so when some teams have played more matches than other teams the situation is not real.”
Tottenham are fifth on 53 points, but come into today’s clash without a win at Stamford Bridge in 24 years.
Best away record
Yet they arrive with the best away record in the league this season to face a Chelsea team who have picked up more points at home than any other.
Chelsea have not lost any of the 74 home league games they have played in Mourinho’s two spells there as manager but he expects a tough examination of that record today.
Mourinho also said he had sympathy for Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew following his headbutt on Hull City midfielder David Meyler last week. Pardew is facing the prospect of a substantial ban from the FA for his actions.
“I spoke with Alan a couple of hours after the incident, and he knows he made a mistake and he knows he has to pay for it with a punishment,” Mourinho said.
“But for me, more than that, he is a good friend and a great guy and I prefer to stay with a good friend and a great guy than the mistake.
“He made a mistake but he’s a good man.”
Asked if he thought changes needed to be made to the technical area, Mourinho said: “I have never had a problem to share with other managers.”