Jose Mourinho says Chelsea’s seven points lead is insignificant in the Premier League title race at this time of the season, but expects another re-assuring performance against Everton on Wednesday.
Last weekend’s 2-1 victory at Aston Villa helped the ‘Blues’ surge ahead of their closest challengers, Manchester City, who drew 1-1 at home to Hull City hours later.
“When you chase you have to win and at the same time you have to wait for your opponent to lose points,” the Portuguese said in his pre-game media briefing on Tuesday ahead of the game against Everton.
“In fact, every weekend, you play two matches – your match and the other match. When you are top you play only one match and if you win, fine. I prefer to be top of the league.”
Having drawn three and lost two of his previous visits to Villa Park, the success over the weekend had a special ring to it for Mourinho, who said he “didn’t even know the result of Man City.”
Asked what he makes of Chelsea’s seven-point gap over Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Mourinho explained why he would rather prefer to be top of the standings.
“We are in the driving seat but seven points with 14 matches is a long way to go. If it was 14 points with seven matches to go we’d be almost there.
“It‘s better than a zero-point lead but in England seven points isn’t much. In another country it would be a big lead because in every other country the top teams only lose points when they play each other. Here they can lose points to anyone.”
In the meantime, the 52-year-old does not expect a repeat of the seven-goal thriller at Goodison Park earlier this season (in August). But the Chelsea boss says Romelu Lukaku has nothing to prove amidst huge expectation on his return to Stamford Bridge having been allowed to leave for the Toffees on a permanent basis in the summer.
“That game was a strange game with a strange result,’ he noted. “It’s not even a game to analyse because it won’t be repeated. Sometimes results or matches go in a direction where it’s difficult to repeat. The game was everything but normal.
“I’m confident we can win tomorrow. We go game after game, not thinking too far (ahead). “We will try to be good tomorrow, play well, and try to win in front of our supporters.”
On Lukaku’s return, he added: “He proves every weekend he is a good player. Nobody has any doubt at Chelsea that he is a good player.
“Why was he allowed to go? That’s football, that’s life. Players move on. He wanted to play all the time so I think he will be happy now.”
Cesc Fabregas is expected to feature at some point tomorrow, but “John Mikel Obi is not in conditions to play,” says Mourinho.
“We have to stick with Didier Drogba and Remy. Again, we need the suspended player (Diego Costa) but we coped without him and we got results without him,” he added.
“With him it could have been even better, but I trust my people; we always decide not to speak about players that cannot play. We try to forget it and give confidence to the other people.”