Ahead of tonight’s game against Sunderland, Jose Mourinho has been speaking about the nature of this season’s Barclays Premier League and about players in his squad without many games so far.
The Blues go into the match against Gustavo Poyet’s side looking to record a third consecutive league win for only the second time this season, and with the likes of Manchester United , Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool all dropping points at the weekend we find ourselves in a strong position ahead of two successive away matches.
‘In the 13 fixtures we’ve all played so far I don’t think in one week all six of us got the three points,’ said the Blues boss.
‘I may be wrong but I think every week one of us six contenders lost points, and in many of the fixtures more than one, or more than two, lost points.
‘If one of us loses points it’s not a big surprise, it’s just a consequence of how the Premier League is at the moment. I don’t remember, and I followed the Premier League for many years since I left, a situation like this previously.’
Assessing the other teams expected to be challenging for the title next May, Mourinho believes there is little to choose between them, but singled out Manchester City for their vast array of options.
‘The quality and profile of the players, and their experience and average age, they don’t have old players or very young players,’ explained the Portuguese. ‘They have players with maturity and big experience; [Sergio] Aguero, [Edin] Dzeko, [Alvaro] Negredo, [Stefan] Jovetic, these are the four strikers.
‘You go through positions and you see people like [Yaya] Toure and Fernandinho, nobody more than 30 and nobody below 23, the squad is absolutely amazing, they have so many solutions.
‘If you ask me the team with more ammunition I have to try to be honest, I have to apologise to the other four in case they are not happy with me, but my feeling is that City are the team with most ammunition.’
With eight games to play between now and the end of December, there is little doubt Mourinho will need to utilise the full depth of his squad over the coming weeks in order to maximise performance levels.
Two players who will hope to be involved are Demba Ba and Kevin De Bruyne, and though the duo have featured only sparingly this season thus far, the manager alluded to opportunities on the horizon for both.
‘It was Demba’s first league goal [against Southampton] but not the first time he gave a big contribution, he works very hard for the team and brings some different qualities,’ said Mourinho.
‘The work him and Fernando did on Sunday was amazing, of course the goal was important for his happiness and it was a crucial goal because it killed the game. I’m not sleeping, Demba is showing me he can help the team.
‘Kevin is showing desire and working very hard. I feel sorry for him that I haven’t given him big opportunities up to now but he’s working better than ever. Of course, he’s sad when he’s not selected or not playing, but he’s working in a very professional way, which is a change from the beginning.
‘When he works the way he’s working he has to play sooner or later. For tonight he’s selected so he has a chance to play and in this block of games, for sure, he has to start matches.
‘I like him as a player and I’ve learned now how to like him as a kid because he’s a good kid and he’s showing now he’s a good professional, so hopefully I can give him enough time on the pitch so he can be happy.
‘I understand he needs to play a bit more but it’s the area of the pitch where we have more options, but I am speaking with him and we are working on that. He can also play as a midfielder when we play with a triangle, he did that for Werder Bremen, so hopefully we can find more options for Kevin to play because I like him very much.’