It was following a rare week of training uninterrupted by a match that Jose Mourinho addressed the media this Friday lunchtime. The manager spoke positively about the preparations as the challenge at the top of the league table continues, and the team head to Crystal Palace for our final London derby of the season tomorrow with limited injury concerns.
Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o will not be part of the squad. Cole continues to recover from a knee ligament injury sustained in training at the start of the month, while Eto’o came off early in the win against Arsenal last weekend with a hamstring problem. Mourinho said although he does not think Eto’o will recover in time for the away game against Paris St-Germain on Wednesday, there is a possibility.
Marco van Ginkel will play a second game for the Chelsea Under-21 side this evening [Friday] as he regains fitness following a cruciate ligament reconstruction.
In his pre-match conference, Mourinho highlighted a good level of performance when the players are tested in games, but he warns against comparing our remaining league fixtures with those of Manchester City and Liverpool and reaching the conclusion that we have the best run-in.
‘Ours is the most difficult because we play Champions League and they don’t,’ Mourinho pointed out.
‘We have to play with two or three days in between and we have to change our focus from the Premier League to the Champions League, go back to the Premier League and then go back to the Champions League for another big game against Paris St-Germain.
‘Liverpool keep going in their perfect season while we have no time to prepare matches like they have. It is a big advantage City have just now and an advantage Liverpool have had since the start of the season.’
The Merseysiders’ continued presence in the title shake-up does not surprise Mourinho at all and he still considers Arsenal as contenders despite the five points they dropped in their last two games.
‘It is more difficult because they are a few points behind the other three teams but mathematically it is open for Arsenal.
‘When you have six days a week to prepare a match [like Liverpool] and maybe train twice a day, you have conditions to improve that nobody else has. You can see clearly that some of their players are not paying the consequences of accumulation of fatigue, you see freshness, you see players of a certain age who don’t need to rest for matches. The season for them is the perfect season to do what they are doing.
‘If we win our seven matches we can win the league but I don’t know, it depends on Man City, not on us. We have to win the seven matches and we have to try one by one, match after match.
‘Tomorrow we are going to try to play well and to win the match, it is the only thing we can do, it is the only thing we have been doing for quite a long time. We are playing well and getting results. We have to be optimistic.’