Following a game settled by a moment of individual brilliance, Jose Mourinho praised the collective mentality of his side after this afternoon’s narrow 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace…

The manager was happy to admit that the result could have swung either way, but was delighted to see the team emerge with three points that puts us within touching distance of league leaders Arsenal ahead of our trip to the Emirates on December 23.

The manager had praise for Palace and their travelling support, and explained that he had no doubt about the threat that our opponents would offer…

‘I was expecting an easy victory or big problems. I was ready for both things,’ Mourinho said.

‘When Palace sit back, compact, they are very well organised by Tony [Pulis]. They wait for the right moment to put a long ball into the box and fight for the first and second ball, I know that they are dangerous.

‘When I was reading the game and analysing the situation I was feeling the game could go in both directions. For me this result could have been 5-1 or it could be 2-2.’

Mourinho praised the resoluteness of his squad, who despite not playing at their best are still challenging on all fronts…

‘It is this club’s nature and DNA to try to fight for trophies. It’s my way of working too. It’s the mentality we want the players to have. We all know this is a transitional period, we all know we have just a few players from the winning side of the past, and we all know we have lots of young talent to improve.

‘In another club, with a different profile, everybody would say let’s work and wait calmly, the results will come in the near future, but we are not like that.

‘We want to build but at the same time we want to fight for titles and at the moment in the Premier League we are there, two points behind the leader.’

Mourinho also spoke on the dangerous nature of comparing the past with the present when considering the number of goals we have conceded this season in relation to his first spell…

‘Ten years ago I had a mobile phone that weighed two kilos. It’s the evolution of the times. This league is different, my team is different, my players are different and our philosophy of playing football is also different.

‘I don’t think it’s something we should do, comparing different periods and different generations, in different leagues and with different players. It’s not fair.’

Mourinho also looked ahead to our next league action, away to Arsenal, and what that result could mean for the title race…

‘To be top of the league by December or even by the end of January is not crucial; it will be open till the very end.

‘Every game is very hard, the distances open and close, open and close. Of course we go to Arsenal to try to win and with the objective of being top of the league, but if we don’t I don’t think it’s crucial.’

Tony Pulis was delighted with his own side’s endeavours, but also praised two of our defenders for keeping Stuart O’Keefe at bay in the second half…

‘I’m looking at John Terry and Ivanovic’s defending to deny O’Keefe and it was absolutely first class. The ball had beaten Cech but their clearances were superb.’

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