‘Boring’ is a decade without league titles, Mourinho tells critics
Chelsea edge closer to crown, frustrate Arsenal, with goalless draw at Emirates
Chelsea captain John Terry celebrates his side being a point closer to the Premier League title at the final whistle of Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal at the Emirates yesterday. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire
José Mourinho has shrugged off chants of “boring, boring Chelsea” from Arsenal’s support by suggesting a decade without a league title represents proper tedium, as this goalless draw edged his team inexorably towards the Premier League trophy.
The home fans bellowed their frustration as Chelsea, led superbly by John Terry, whose performance was ranked as “his best” by the manager, curtailed the hosts’ eight-match winning streak to leave them two wins from the championship.
Victory against Leicester City on Wednesday will ensure Terry can hoist the title for the first time since 2010 by beating Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Mourinho quick to reject claims his team have ground out their success this term.
Arsenal, who ended the weekend third and still 10 points adrift of the top, have not claimed the championship since Arsène Wenger’s Invincibles in 2003-2004.
“You know, ‘boring’ I think is 10 years without a title: that’s very boring,” said Mourinho, who also pointed to a perceived lack of ambition with the home side’s substitutions.
“We had a very good experience. The ‘boring’ team are the second-highest scorers in the Premier League, and the team with the best goal difference. Only Manchester City have scored more goals than us. So I think we scored a lot of goals and, in a period where we don’t have Diego Costa or Loïc Rémy available and we have only one striker – who we have to rely on to help us with all the matches we have – we changed a bit our dynamic and we are not scoring so many goals as before. But, even so, we are the second-highest scorers.”
Wenger, who has failed to defeat a Mourinho team in 13 meetings, conceded the title race was over. “Chelsea will be champions,” said the Arsenal manager. “We know that. It is impossible for them to lose it now.” His side rather ran aground here on the division’s second-stingiest defence, with César Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and, in particular, Terry outstanding. That quartet celebrated together on the final whistle as if the trophy had been claimed.
“But I think today everything was clean: reading the game, giving cover, leading the defensive line, making interceptions, even in the pass. The team was phenomenal, but John was one step ahead of every other player.”
Chelsea will continue to monitor Oscar, who had started as a false number nine with Didier Drogba’s involvement in training having been hampered by injury, after the Brazilian was clattered by David Ospina after 16 minutes. He was treated for a head injury on the pitch and, while he played on until the break, was taken to hospital at half-time to be assessed for signs of concussion. He is a doubt for Wednesday’s trip to Leicester, in which Rémy will not feature. Costa, who is training again after hamstring trouble, may make the trip to the east Midlands as the leaders seek the first of two wins they need to claim the title.
Asked how his team would be remembered once they secure the five points required, Mourinho added: “First of all, we need to be champions. If we do that, and I think we are going to do that, we will be champions having been top of the league since day one . . . The team is very confident and playing extremely well so we know it is in our hands.” Guardian Service