Belfast Telegraph

Spurs have it easy claims Mourinho before Blues visit

By Matt McGeehan

Jose Mourinho has suggested Tottenham have it easy and are under no pressure ahead of Chelsea's trip to White Hart Lane.

The Premier League champions travel across the capital 10 points and 10 places worse off than their fifth-placed rivals, who last won the title in 1961 and whose most recent trophy was the 2008 League Cup.

Chelsea have one win in 10 at White Hart Lane and their most recent trip, on New Year's Day, exposed the frailties which have become all too familiar for Mourinho this season as Spurs won 5-3.

"(There is) no pressure on them, like it is in the other four or five top teams to reach important positions," Mourinho said.

"Nobody speaks about them as title contenders, like they speak about Man City, Man United.

"They have great conditions without the same pressure other clubs have to do magnificent work.

"They lose a couple of matches and nothing happens. They are in the Europa League, and, in the group phase, to be fair, nobody cares about Europa League.

"They go smoothly, step by step. They build a team. They give conditions, without any kind of pressure, for the young players to develop in the team. The club is powerful to decide, 'We don't sell, we don't sell, we don't sell', and to decide, 'We can invest and we can bring in this one or that one'.

"Of course they need a great manager, which they have. Of course they need good players, which they have. But the conditions are very good."

Mourinho's comments came as he recalled complimenting Mauricio Pochettino's side in the aftermath of March's Capital One Cup win at Wembley, when the Portuguese won the first trophy of his return.

Mourinho's third Premier League title was added soon afterwards, but the defence of both trophies appears over.

It would take an unprecedented rise, plus numerous rivals dropping points, for Chelsea to retain the title or even to finish in the top four this season.

Diego Costa is under pressure to deliver after scoring just four times this season, the most recent in the win over Norwich.

The striker and Mourinho had a heated exchange at half-time of Tuesday's win at Maccabi Tel Aviv which Mourinho afterwards played down.

Yet it is clear the Portuguese wants more from Costa.

"I told him, from a distance, with gestures, that I was not happy with the movement he did," Mourinho said.

John Terry could feature despite sustaining an ankle injury in Israel.

Midfielder Ramires is a major doubt, too, having missed the Champions League tie with an undisclosed injury.

Belfast Telegraph


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