Mourinho: City's title to lose
Published 09/03/2014 | 08:02
Jose Mourinho is adamant Manchester City, and not Chelsea, are in pole position to win the Premier League title despite guiding his side seven points clear at the summit with a 4-0 defeat of Tottenham.
Chelsea were the only top four team in Premier League action this weekend and moved seven points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal and nine ahead of City, who have three matches in hand.
Rather than having the points in the bag, Mourinho stated his preference for being in Manuel Pellegrini's position, with a superior goal difference which means City will be champions if they win their final 12 games, even if Chelsea win all nine of theirs.
"I would like to be in their position, because if they win the matches they are top of the league," Mourinho said.
"If we win the next nine matches, we may not be champions.
"If Manchester City win the 12 matches they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands and we don't have ours.
"I would prefer to have my destiny in my hands. It doesn't depend on us. It depends on them."
Mourinho admits mission one of his return season is complete, though, with a top-four finish and Champions League qualification seemingly secure.
"The top four is for us to lose," said Mourinho, whose side have a commanding advantage over fifth-placed Spurs, sixth-placed Manchester United and seventh-placed Everton.
"I really don't believe that we are going to lose that distance.
"Now let's go for objective number two, which is top three - which gives direct Champions League qualification."
Samuel Eto'o scored the first and was fouled for the penalty which saw Younes Kaboul sent off and was scored by Eden Hazard. Demba Ba netted twice late on.
Eto'o himself was a late inclusion after Fernando Torres withdrew with a groin injury following the warm-up which could see him out for "a couple of weeks".
Cameroon striker Eto'o, whose age was questioned recently in unguarded comments made by Mourinho, celebrates his 33rd birthday on Monday and stood crooked at the corner flag, as if using it as an old man's stick, following his goal.
Mourinho was aware of the celebration before it was acted out.
"The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation," Mourinho said.
"Some newspapers do great with photoshop. Now they don't need photoshop. They have the real pic."
Tim Sherwood described Tottenham's top-four chances as "slim" following the defeat and was frustrated with his side's "capitulation", something all too familiar this season.
Sherwood, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas following the 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, said: "We've got a lot of big games coming up and we have to go and win them.
"We had to win them before today, and it's another blow to us.
"No-one came here thinking we were going to turn Chelsea over; we hadn't done it in 24 years.
"I believed we could and after the first-half performance I believed they were there for us. But it never materialised.
"(I am) massively disappointed, not too much about the result and the performance in the first half, but on the capitulation that the team showed, and showed too often this season.
"We were 2-0 down with 10 men at Chelsea, you're not going to win the game. But you expect to see a little bit more guts, a little bit more pride, a little bit more feather rustling.
"I don't want to be the only one who shouts at them. I think they need to dig each other out now and again and get the best out of each other."
Eto'o's opening goal came as a result of a mistake by Jan Vertonghen, who slipped and, from the ground, returned the ball hopefully and centrally before watching on helplessly as the striker nipped in to find the bottom corner.
"Anyone can slip up, make a mistake for the goal," said Sherwood, who is undecided whether to appeal Kaboul's dismissal.
"I appreciate the referees have a very tough job, but that one went against us.
"I think it's a soft decision. I think it's not a penalty. It's a shame the referee didn't get the chance to look at it again."
Tottenham's defensive woes continued when Michael Dawson went off with an undisclosed injury which could rule him out of Thursday's Europa League clash with Benfica.
Sherwood added: "We're struggling in that area of the field. We'll have a look and see who's fit."
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