Mourinho backs Chelsea to recover from five-goal shock
Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea’s New Year’s day meltdown against Tottenham at White Hart Lane will prove to be a one-off.
Mourinho’s side began 2015 in the worst possible fashion with a 5-3 drubbing in Thursday’s London derby.
Chelsea, who at one point looked to be running away with the Premier League title having held an eight-point advantage, have now been pegged back by second placed Manchester City.
The champions and Chelsea are level on goal difference and goals scored, so the Blues are top only on alphabetical order.
But Mourinho is not concerned about Chelsea’s title chances just yet and, unhappy his team didn’t get two penalties at Spurs, he instead focused his attentions on the standard of referees in the English games and the amount of games his players faced over the congested festive period.
“We didn’t lose because of the group of players. Against Newcastle we had Nemanja Matic suspended but John Obi Mikel played a very good game,” Mourinho said.
“We lost then because we were unlucky and Newcastle were lucky. Mr Atkinson (the referee) had a completely clean performance.
“It was a different story against Tottenham and against Southampton in our previous game it’s again a similar story. But there’s nothing we can do. The only thing we can do is work and play well.”
The games come thick and fast for Chelsea with an FA Cup third round tie with Watford looming this week.
Mourinho will rest his key players against the Championship side, saying he has no choice but to give them a break as his flair players are also not being protected.
He fears Eden Hazard will be kicked out the English came by roughhouse tactics.
“We are going to do what we are doing up to now, knowing clearly that, in 20 league matches, the most offensive team, the team with more creative players in the attacking area, we had two penalties in 20 matches and I also think that people in love with football in this country, people must be in love with Eden Hazard,” Mourinho said.
“The way match to match he’s being punished by opponents and not protected by referees, maybe one day we won’t have Eden Hazard.
“It’s one, two, three, four, five and 10 aggressive fouls against him. They kick and kick and kick, and the kid resists. He’s a very honest guy in the way he plays, but that’s another problem.”
Meanwhile, in-form striker Harry Kane, who scored twice to enhance his growing reputation at Tottenham, won’t be ignored by England for much longer, according to Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.
“We need to be careful with him. He’s still young. But it’s impossible to hide him because of his performances,” said Pochettino.
“We try to help him improve every day and, if the national team manager believes in him and wants to give him the opportunity. It’s not my decision.
“In the last few months Harry has had the possibility to play more and start to show his qualities. We are really happy with that.”
Tottenham are right back in the Champions League hunt after an upturn in results and Pochettino added: “In football, always, it changes very quickly the situation.
“We’ve started to improve a lot in the last few months. I think that we are more strong now.”