Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea defeat wouldn't ruin Jose Mourinho's perfect season

By Matt McGeehan

Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea are in the midst of a "perfect season" and that even a first defeat of the campaign would not alter the Blues' burgeoning self-belief.

The runaway leaders play Tottenham tonight seeking to consolidate their advantage at the top of the Premier League, having failed to score for the first time this term at Sunderland last Saturday.

Despite opening the season with a 20-match unbeaten run, Mourinho thinks his side should be in buoyant mood even when the defeat he believes is inevitable happens.

"What do you want the team to do or to feel when a team is doing a perfect season?" Mourinho said.

"Top of the league in the Premier League. Top of the group in the Champions League. Quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup. Not losing one match for four months.

"The team has to feel very very well. And, when the defeat arrives, I think we have to feel exactly in the same way.

"We are doing things very, very well and it's not a bad result, when the bad result arrives, that is going to change our self-belief, our self-esteem."

For Spurs to end the Blues' unbeaten streak, they must win at Stamford Bridge for the first time since February 1990, when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal.

Chelsea will be without striker Diego Costa, who serves a one-game ban after being shown his fifth yellow card of the season at Sunderland.

Loic Remy or Didier Drogba are likely to start up front in his place.

"We don't speak about Diego," Mourinho said.

"Forget Diego, we trust the other two and we go with the other two."

At the other end of his team, in defence, John Terry has enjoyed another impressive campaign.

The captain is under contract until the end of the season, but Mourinho would not entertain discussion over his future.

"It's not time to speak about it, but he knows what I think, he knows what I feel, the board also knows. And we don't feel the need to share with you (the media)."

Chelsea play Spurs twice in nine matches as they also meet on New Year's Day at White Hart Lane. The hectic festive schedule is something Mourinho's former mentor Louis van Gaal must adapt to quickly at Manchester United, having had winter breaks in other leagues, but the Portuguese enjoys it.

"It's the first time for him," Mourinho said.

"Next season will be easier."

Chelsea v Tottenham, Premier League: Stamford Bridge, 7.45pm

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