English Premiership

Mourinho blasts crisis talk

2013-09-21 09:14
Jose Mourinho (File)

London - Jose Mourinho has slammed talk of a crisis at Stamford Bridge as the Chelsea manager bids to end his side's dismal run of four matches without a win on Saturday.

Mourinho's men desperately need a victory over their west London neighbours to erase the bitter taste of Wednesday's shock defeat against Swiss minnows Basel in the Champions League.

That was Chelsea's first home group stage loss in the competition for 10 years and it came hot on the heels of a 1-0 defeat at Everton last weekend, a result which condemned Chelsea to their worst Premier League start for a decade.

But Mourinho is convinced his team's erratic start is merely the growing pains of a young squad who are still adapting to his demands.

"For me, no crisis, for me two bad results. We want to change and we're going to change," Mourinho said.

"I agree we must have better results. I agree we are not the kind of club that is going to wait two, three, four, five years to have a team.

"We have to accelerate the process, but we are not going to change.

"We want this team to play in a certain way and that's the way we're going to work."

Liverpool conceded their 100 percent record in Monday's 2-2 draw at Swansea City, but they remain top of the table by a point and will look to strengthen their position at home to Southampton on Saturday.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will be without Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho due to a shoulder injury, but in Daniel Sturridge he has a striker looking to score for the sixth game in succession.

Southampton drew 0-0 at home to West Ham United last weekend and are bidding for a first victory since their 1-0 success at West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season.

Another manager buoyed by mid-week European success was Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, whose side won 2-1 at Marseille in the Champions League to record a 10th consecutive away success in all competitions.

Wenger is expected to hand a home debut to record signing Mesut Ozil against Stoke City on Saturday, when Arsenal will be chasing a sixth straight victory.

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the Manchester derby as United manager David Moyes and his City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini get their first taste of the fixture's frenzied atmosphere.

Both sides have made spluttering starts to the season, having each amassed seven points from their first four league games, but they both enjoyed convincing wins in mid-week.

United opened their Champions League campaign with an entertaining 4-2 win at home to Bayer Leverkusen, while City enjoyed a 3-0 victory away to Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen.

United striker Wayne Rooney confirmed his return to form with a brace against Leverkusen and he will now hope to repeat his performance from last season's equivalent fixture against City, when he scored twice in a 3-2 victory.

"It's a massive game," Rooney said. "Two title contenders. It's not going to define the season, but it's a big game, a derby. We'll be going there to win. I've scored a few goals against City."

Last season, an injury-time free-kick from Robin van Persie sent United six points clear of their city rivals and it was a setback that the defending champions were unable to overcome.

With this season's encounter taking place earlier in the campaign, it is unlikely to prove quite as decisive, but City captain Vincent Kompany is still relishing the occasion.

"It is becoming one of the most sought-after fixtures in the world and it is always great to be involved in such games," said the Belgian, who returned from a groin injury in Pilsen. "I never take them for granted."

Tottenham Hotspur, who opened their Europa League campaign against Norwegian side Tromso on Thursday, visit promoted Cardiff City, also on Sunday.


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