Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has refused to write off Manchester United’s title hopes after they fell 12 points behind leaders Arsenal in midweek.
Mourinho said earlier in the week that if a gap got to 12 or 13 points for the likes of United and Tottenham Hotspur then they would have a lot of work to do.
But speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s visit to Stoke this weekend, Mourinho said: ‘If it’s another club I would tell you it’s impossible now but with Man United I don’t say that because of the potential of the team, what it represents, the culture of the club. It’s not a club in panic, it’s not a club where you the feel the end of the world is arriving.
‘They will stick together, they will fight, they will try and get [a win in] four, five consecutive matches.’
After the 4-3 win over Sunderland in midweek, Mourinho was pleased that his side managed to survive the late onslaught at the Stadium of Light and leave with all three points.
David Luiz has been ruled out of Chelsea’s clash with Stoke City tomorrow but there is positive news in Samuel Eto’o is fit to play. Oscar is also better after picking up an ankle injury against Southampton but Mourinho is unsure as to whether the Brazilian will be able to play.
Mourinho also said that Ashley Cole will return to the side in one of the next two games.
The Chelsea boss has said it has been a hard week for his players and bemoaned the fixture schedule having started their spell of three league matches in a week on the Sunday, and finishing it on a Saturday.
‘It’s like a preparation for the Christmas period. In that much for sure we’re going to make many changes but this week is a hard week because we start on Sunday and finish on a Saturday. For some clubs it’s Saturday to Sunday and for others it’s Sunday to Saturday so with fixtures we’re always in trouble.
‘It’s a big coincidence, it’s always for the same [teams]. The better situation is for the same clubs.’
image: © Ronnie Macdonald