Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho confident despite draw with Southampton

Chelsea 1-1 Southampton

By Sam Wallace

Jose Mourinho conceded that Arsenal were still in the title race after both Chelsea and Manchester City failed to take three points at the weekend, but pointedly asked whether Arsène Wenger's team had the momentum to overhaul the leaders.

A 1-1 draw at home to Southampton meant that Chelsea go six points clear of second-placed City and also have a game in hand over the defending champions, who lost 1-0 at Burnley on Saturday. Mourinho admitted that he expected his team to have done better having taken the lead through Diego Costa.

Reflecting on the draw, Mourinho said: "One perspective is a draw at home to Southampton is not a good result. For me, that perspective is very acceptable because I have this feeling. And the second perspective is we had a lead of five points from second, and now it's six points with one less match to play.

"Of course (Arsenal are in contention in the title race). (They are) seven points behind Chelsea, and one less match to play than Chelsea. I keep thinking our opposition is better than theirs - both teams are in the race." Asked whether Arsenal had greater momentum, Mourinho said: "Which momentum? Three-one against Monaco or 3-0 against West Ham? It depends on the momentum."

Told that his current bête noire Graeme Souness, the Sky Sports pundit, had agreed with referee Mike Dean's decision to award a penalty against Nemanja Matic, Mourinho said that Souness had his priorities wrong.

"Souness says it is more a reason (to be) a critic of a player for asking for a yellow card than if a player kicks someone in the chest."

Mourinho was unhappy that Dean had not awarded a penalty for a trip by Dusan Tadic on Branislav Ivanovic in the first half. "Every match is difficult," he said. "Remember our two matches against Southampton: in one game, one penalty that is not a penalty; in another game, a penalty that was not given(for Cesc Fabregas at St Mary's). So you are speaking about six points and getting two. So the danger is always there. But I keep saying, we are there [at the top]."

Ronald Koeman, the Southampton manager, praised his goalkeeper Fraser Forster who made a number of saves as the pressure increased at the end of the game. "I'm very happy and pleased that we have Fraser in our team. He has played an unbelievably high level for the team."

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