LIVERPOOL — Three minutes from the end of Chelsea’s 2-0 win away at Liverpool on Sunday, Blues boss Jose Mourinho threw his arms into the air time and time again towards the 3,000 Chelsea fans stationed at the Anfield Road end of the stadium.
That whipped the Blues faithful into a frenzy. His ultra-defensive tactics frustrated Premier League leaders Liverpool as the title race took yet another dramatic twist as Mourinho’s ‘B squad’ prevailed with several starters out injured.
Chelsea have now not lost to any of the current top four, beating Liverpool and Manchester City home and away, defeating Arsenal at home and drawing with them away at the Emirates. Five wins from six against the teams around you at the summit would usually clinch you the title, yet slip ups to teams at the wrong end of the table have cost Mourinho’s men dear. Asked what he thought about his sides display, which included time-wasting from the first minute and a negative outlook as he set up his side for the draw, this is what the 50-year-old Portuguese had to say.
“The best team won,” Mourinho said. “The team that deserved to win won. Simple. That is my opinion.”
Pushed further to unravel his sides defense approach, which saw the Blues control just 27 percent of possession and played with almost six at the back, Mourinho played dumb before praising his sides nous to record their league-high 17th clean sheet of the season.
“Defensive display? I am a bit confused with what the media thinks about defensive displays,” Mourinho said. “When a team defends well, you call it a defensive display, when you let in two or three goals, sometimes it is still a good defensive display. The team played brilliantly. Every player was magnificent. No mistakes. Zonal play, which is more difficult than man marking. Covering spaces, covering the man. It was a fantastic performance by my players.”
Chelsea are now well and truly back in the title race, as they sit on 78 points with two games to go, while Liverpool have 80 points and Manchester City will also be on 80 if they win their games in hand. All it takes is one slip up from Liverpool or City to let Chelsea back in, but Mourinho isn’t buying it. Not at all.
“We have no chance,” Mourinho said. “We were waiting for this match to be the title match. We were speaking about this match to be the title match for a long time, for some reason this match didn’t become the title match. Today was three important points, we need one more to finish third, then we will be in the Champions League automatically.”
The ‘Special One’ then reveled in the fact that whichever team wins the title — in his mind it is either Liverpool or City — both lost home and away to his Chelsea side.
Small victories, Jose. Yet could his latest win give Chelsea a fighting chance of lifting the PL title? Let’s wait and see.
“We won both matches against Liverpool and we won both matches against Manchester City,” Mourinho said. “It doesn’t matter who wins the title. We won both matches against the champion.”