At the same time Jose Mourinho will be assessing his team's tactics inside the Stamford Bridge dugout this evening against visiting West Ham United, one of the club's rivals for the Premier League crown - Manchester City - take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and, even though the Blues could go top of the table with a two goal winning margin in the event City fail to defeat Spurs, the Portuguese manager is hoping for a Tottenham loss.
'I prefer [City] to win, because if they win and if we win, we open a gap to Tottenham,' said Mourinho simply, as quoted by Sky Sports, before adding that the gap over their fellow Londoners would then be double figures and would effectively safe-guard their own position within the top four slots in the division, thereby guaranteeing Chelsea with a passage to European football next season.
'If we have a gap of 10 to Tottenham, 12 to United, you have a safe spot in the Champions League. If you can have a safe spot by February and play the rest of the season without that pressure, it would be fantastic for us,' added the recently-turned 51-year-old.
During Mourinho's first spell in charge of Chelsea he was renowned for his employment of mind-games, particularly with then Manchester United adversary Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal rival Arsene Wenger.
Instead of talking-up a tight race between three clubs who have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, Mourinho has oft-repeated his opinion that City are the favourites. His focus on Champions League qualification, rather than outright title success, continues that motif.
He said: '[Qualifying for the Champions League is] an objective I don't want to fail. We cannot fail, because as a club we need that and as a team we need that too, because we want to play. The top four, if possible the top three, is the big, big, big objective and it's a difficult objective.
'If everybody is there, you go to the end of the season under big pressure, so for us it will be better for City to win.'
Chelsea take on City on February 3 at the Etihad Stadium, a venue where Manuel Pellegrini's men are yet to drop a single point having won all 11 of their Premier League encounters there thus far this footballing year.
image: © tpower1978