English Premiership

Mourinho: I have lots of love

2015-04-27 10:36
Jose Mourinho (AFP)

London - With Chelsea six points from a first Premier League title since 2010, manager Jose Mourinho happily turned a deaf ear to suggestions his team are unloved by neutrals.

Chelsea dazzled during the season's first half, putting several teams to the sword, but with the finishing line in sight they have tightened up in trademark Mourinho fashion.

After a run of seven wins by a one-goal margin, they were taunted with chants of 'Boring, boring Chelsea!' during Sunday's 0-0 draw at Arsenal, but Mourinho said he did not care about the perception of his side.

"I have lots of love," he told reporters in a mock-romantic voice.

"If you tell the truth, people will fall in love with us. But you have to say the truth, and sometimes you don't. If you say the truth, we will walk in the street and people will throw kisses to us."

If Chelsea win at Leicester City on Wednesday, they can secure the title with victory at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday and Mourinho believes his team will be worthy champions.

"If we do that, and I think we are going to do that, we will be champions being top of the league since day one," he said.

"Only top teams can do that."

Mourinho confirmed that he will once again be without Loic Remy at the King Power Stadium as the France striker continues to nurse a calf problem.

With Diego Costa also sidelined and Didier Drogba short of fitness, Mourinho fielded Oscar at the tip of his attack against Arsenal, only for the Brazilian midfielder to be taken to hospital at half-time for scans after a heavy collision with home goalkeeper David Ospina.

While Arsenal created the better chances in the second half, striker Olivier Giroud barely had a kick, prompting Mourinho to pay an effusive tribute to his captain, John Terry.

"I told John Terry in the dressing room that he made fantastic performances with me, but this was his best," the Portuguese told Sky Sports.

Making his return to the club where he previously spent eight years, former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas experienced a day of contrasting emotions.

He was conspicuously booed by sections of the home support and was booked for diving in the first half, but warm applause burst through the wall of jeers as he made his way off in the 90th minute.

"I won't deny that it was a special day for me," said the Chelsea midfielder, who left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011.

"To be substituted at the end and feel the love of the Arsenal fans meant a lot to me. I'm grateful for the life they gave me.

"Some people will be disappointed in me for the reasons why I left, but I am grateful forever."

Asked for his thoughts on the hostility Fabregas had faced, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who blooded the Spaniard as a 16-year-old, said only: "I've seen much worse."

Arsenal remain 10 points adrift of Chelsea in third place, but having won their nine previous games in all competitions and reached the FA Cup final as holders, Wenger believes his side are on an upward curve.

However, with top-four rivals Manchester City and Manchester United having endured difficult weekends -- the former edging Aston Villa 3-2, the latter losing 3-0 at Everton -- he feels now is not the time to think about next season's title race.

"We want to finish the season well," said the Frenchman, who has not beaten Mourinho in 13 attempts.

"I watched Villa against City, and Everton today (Sunday), and every game is difficult. But we need to keep the focus until the end of the season.

"Then we'll see what we can do next season. Let's finish well. We go to Hull now, then we want to secure the top four before the FA Cup final.

"Then the top three or the top two. That's all to do now."


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22 October 2016
Arsenal v Middlesbrough, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v Watford, Liberty Stadium 16:00
West Ham United v Sunderland, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Hull City v Stoke City, The KC Stadium 16:00
Burnley v Everton, Turf Moor 16:00
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23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
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Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
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Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
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