Jose Mourinho hails Chelsea’s “important victory” as Drogba steps up

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LONDON — Chelsea started sluggishly against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, but Jose Mourinho’s side ended up winning at a canter as they surged through the gears.

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Harry Kane’s early header clattering against the crossbar woke Chelsea up, as Eden Hazard and Didier Drogba combined for the first goal, and the latter scored three minutes later to kill the game off after just 22 minutes.

Loic Remy added another in the second half, as Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 victory and remain six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

It was hardly vintage stuff but Mourinho was delighted his side responded well after a difficult start.

“It was a very difficult match against a very good Tottenham,” Mourinho said. “Against a Tottenham that was better than us in the first 20 minutes. After that we were able to face a difficult moment, to be stable, to score. After that we managed the game in the best way. Important victory against a very good team.”

Asked about Chelsea’s reputation after going unbeaten in their first 21 games in all competitions this season, Mourinho played down his sides success and wants to remain focused.

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“We are doing well. We are having good results in every competition,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think we should speak too much about it. We have to go game after game. We try to play the best and have the best possible result.”

One negative arrived from the win, as center back Gary Cahill came off injured at half time after a nasty clash of heads with Jan Vertonghen early on. Mourinho denied that Cahill suffered a concussion and praised his replacement Kurt Zouma.

“He is okay. No concussion. No need for special care,” Mourinho said of Cahill’s injury. “He was just feeling afraid to head the ball. So when a player is a bit afraid, it is not good. So it was a good opportunity for Zouma, to face some pressure. 2-0 up at half time against Tottenham, good players and a good offensive team. It was very good for him, he is playing very well every time he plays. Today was a very good test and I am so happy with his evolution since he arrived. He will be a big player for Chelsea for many years.”

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights]

36-year-old striker Didier Drogba, starting in place of the suspended Diego Costa scored one and set up another as the Ivorian striker rolled back the years. Mourinho was pleased with his strikers team display and praised Drogba’s mentality.

“It is remarkable. First of all he is a team player,” Mourinho said. “After that he has an old days mentality. Not selfish, not vain. He is a humble guy who fights for the team, plays for the team. He is fantastic.”

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Asked if he would have let Drogba leave Chelsea two years ago if he was in charge of the Blues backthen, Mourinho had the following to say.

“The important thing is that he is here and going to finish his career with Chelsea,” Mourinho said. “It looks, to me, that he is going to stay doing other things when he finishes his career… I play against him with Real Madrid and against Galatasaray with Chelsea last year. I was expecting exactly this, and not even a doubt that he’s not a player who is playing every game like before. I know that the mental point of view he will adapt to this role. I don’t know, it must be his decision. When he comes here, he knows the club wants him to stay. It will be his decision when he decides to stop as a player.”

Mourinho also responded to questions about losing Nemanja Matic for Saturday’s game against Newcastle through suspension. He played down the loss of Matic, as well as being without Costa against Tottenham, and said other players must step up to the plate.

“No problem. No problem… Play another one!” Mourinho said, bluntly. “It is like Diego Costa. Did you remember Diego Costa today? I didn’t. We give confidence to the others players. We don’t cry when somebody can’t play. Obviously he is playing fantastic for us, but that’s the way we think. We forget it.”