Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea pair Jose Mourinho and John Terry go on the defensive yet again

Chelsea pair stand by 'boring' style, insisting they fully deserve to be crowned champions

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

John Terry and Jose Mourinho have both fiercely defended Chelsea's results-driven approach as they close in on the Premier League title.

While Chelsea were mocked by Arsenal fans at the Emirates on Sunday night for 'boring' football following their goalless draw, their captain and manager both suggested that their critics were divorced from the simple realities of the game.

Terry responded caustically that "tippy-tappy football" did not deliver trophies. Mourinho again pointed to his side's record this season, and warned that the growing use of possession statistics in football would eventually lead to "the football they play on the moon", without goals.

Mourinho was speaking at his press conference ahead of tomorrow night's Premier League game at Leicester City, which if Chelsea win will move them to within two points of the title.

While Mourinho did not directly criticise Arsenal - as he did on Sunday evening - he was insistent again that his side are entertaining and said that criticising them for their lack of possession was to fundamentally misunderstand the game.

"It cannot be true," Mourinho said. "If we are boring, and if the number of goals is what decides if a team is good or bad, boring or not, then we have 18 teams in the Premier League who are more boring than us. If this is the criteria, then (Manchester) City are the best team and Chelsea the second best.

"If a good team is the team with more points, we are the best team. If a good team is the team with most victories, we are the best team.

"If the best team are the side with fewest defeats, we are the best team. In any point of analysis, in any criteria you can find, we are the best team or the second best team. So it's as simple as that."

When asked why Chelsea were criticised by those who thought they were insufficiently stylish, Mourinho argued that simple ball possession did not automatically equate to style.

"The way people analyse style and flair is to take the goals out of the pitch," he said. "It's the football they play on the moon."

Mourinho said that this modern obsession with possession owed to the media, or to "some managers who can only teach their guys to keep the ball".

The day after the PFA team of the year was announced, Mourinho said that it should simply have been his Chelsea team in its entirety and pointed out that the XI was unbalanced.

"Just as an example, with the season (Cesc) Fabregas is having, the number of assists (16) and quality of his game, (for him) not to be there is a bit strange," Mourinho said.

"I think that team wouldn't win the Premier League, because that team is four defenders, (Nemanja) Matic and five to attack. So it's a team without any balance. That team is missing a midfield player, and I think that should be Fabregas. But this is not important."

Terry, the Chelsea captain, who gave the best performance of his Stamford Bridge career on Sunday, agreed with Mourinho that results were most important and that his club, rather than a possession-oriented side, were best at delivering them.

"We are definitely not boring and if we do go on to win it, nobody's going to remember the performances when perhaps it's not been that exciting," Terry said. "But we've dug deep and other teams haven't done and that is why they are so far behind us.

"Possession is great, we could see that from the Manchester United game last week. Possession and tippy-tappy football is great, but if you are not winning, you're not going to win the league."

Terry pointed out that, before Christmas, Chelsea had played good football and only injuries and suspensions had held them back.

"Let's not forget the first half of the season, up until Christmas, we were the best side by far," Terry said. "The football we played with Cesc Fabregas and his assists, the goal at Burnley (scored by the now departed Andre Schurrle) and goals after that. The play was different class."

"Things then went against us and the manager came up with the way to get us through games. That's where he's at his best.

"Let's not forget we were the best side up until Christmas, for sure, and we have actually beaten the teams who have made things difficult for us."

Belfast Telegraph


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