English Premiership

Mourinho fires next shot

2014-03-09 13:40
Jose Mourinho (AFP)

London - Jose Mourinho has insisted he would prefer to be in Manchester City's position in the English Premiership title race despite his Chelsea side moving seven points clear.

Chelsea's 4-0 victory over Tottenham took Mourinho's team to 66 points, while Liverpool and Arsenal lie second with 59 points having played a game fewer.

City are two points further adrift but have three games in hand on Chelsea and have a superior goal difference, prompting Mourinho to claim the advantage in the battle to become champions lies with Manuel Pellegrini's team.

"I would like to be in their position.

"If they win the matches, they're top of the league," he said.

"If City win the 12 matches they have, they're champions.

"They have the destiny in their own hands. I would prefer to have destiny in my own hands. It doesn't depend on us. It depends on them."

The Chelsea manager did concede that his side had all but achieved their initial objective of guaranteeing a top four place after moving 13 points clear of Tottenham in fifth place.

The manager added: "The top four is for us to lose. We are 13 points from Tottenham, and 15 from Man United and Everton.

"This game could have reduced the gap to fifth to seven points, but at this moment it is 13 points and I really don't believe we'll lose that distance.

"So objective number one, top four, is in our hands. Now let's go for objective number two, top three with direct Champions League qualification."

Samuel Eto'o put Chelsea on their way with the 56th minute opening goal which he followed with a celebration that poked fun at off the record comments made by Mourinho about the striker's age.

The striker imitated an elderly person leaning on the corner flag and Mourinho said: "I didn't suggest (the celebration) but we knew it (was coming).

"We knew it. We thought it was more than fine.

"The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation, so it was good."

Younes Kaboul's foul on Eto'o earned the Tottenham defender a red card and allowed Eden Hazard to add a 59th minute second from the penalty spot.

And substitute Demba Ba capitalised on two late defensive mistakes to score twice in the final two minutes of normal time.

Eto'o was only included in the starting line-up because Fernando Torres picked up a groin injury in the warm-up.

Mourinho said: "It was a big surprise for me because he was one of the few players who didn't go to the national team. Sometimes these things happen.

"He felt something in his groin in the warm-up, and even a little thing you're out for a couple of weeks. But the other two scored goals today.

"That's why we always want three strikers in the squad.

"They scored.

"For strikers, a goal is always a vitamin."

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood admitted his side's chances of forcing their way into the top four were now "slim".

"You can't legislate for the capitulation -- you can't have that.

"Lack of characters, too many of them too nice to each other and you need to show a bit more guts and not want to be someone's mate all the time.

"They need to drag it out of each other," said an angry Sherwood.

"It hurts me and I won't forget about this when we hit the motorway, but some might.

"It's not a penalty and not a sending off but the game was finished after that.

"We've got the Europa League on Thursday and we owe the fans a performance.

"We let them down again on the big occasion.

"You won't finish in the top four if you don't beat top teams.

"You're miles away unless you beat the top teams.

"There have been too many blips.

"The club talks about fourth, wake up."

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Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Villa Park 13:45
Swansea City v Burnley, Liberty Stadium 16:00
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