Date:Wednesday January 3 2007
Jose Mourinho is trying to launch a psychological attack on Manchester United even though his players are faltering badly. The Portuguese manager said he was relieved United only opened up a six-point gap despite all the problems Chelsea had encountered in recent weeks.
'Considering the problems Chelsea have had, Manchester United should be 10, 12, 14 points clear of us," said Mourinho. 'I am happy to be six points behind. Six points is nothing.
'In previous seasons, we have gone 11, 12 points clear and killed things off by Christmas. In my opinion, Manchester United did not take advantage of our bad moments. They could have done better.
'They didn't take their opportunity on Monday when they drew at Newcastle. Manchester United have dropped five points at West Ham and Newcastle recently and the gap could have been bigger.
'Now we look forward to the second half of the season when we should have some people back pretty quickly. John Terry should be available for the next Premiership game with Wigan and Petr Cech and Arjen Robben after that."
OK, I admit our lead could be bigger. But football does not work like that. It's not sure Chelsea would have dropped points at Villa if we had won at Newcastle. But apart from this, I have another point.
'Manchester United should be 10, 12, 14 points clear of us,' Mourinho said. Well, had we won the games at West Ham and Newcastle, we would be 11 points ahead. So it does not make sense talking about 12 of 14. Their appalling luck at Everton and Wigan prevented us from gaining an unassailable lead.
And the most obvious part. My dear Jose, who dropped points when they could have closed the gap to four points? Were them Chelsea? Oh, yes. They missed a chance, not us. Anyone can see this is a desperate attempt from Mourinho to raise the morale of his team.
I do not believe we should hold a bigger advantage. Considering the squads, the injuries, luck and performances, a six point-advantage is a fair reflection of the difference between the two teams right now. And I don't think 11 could be unassailable for Chelsea. Either 6 or 11 points clear, the most important thing is we can concentrate on our performance and have the luxury to ignore Chelsea. The return of Terry and Cech will be great for them but Mourinho should not think that will guarantee them the title. I'd say he does not believe that but I warn him anyway that he shouldn't!
I'd still place my bet on Chelsea but that's regardless of the Christmas results. It's just that I cling to my initial assessment of the odds.
Oh, and talking about we should hold a bigger lead than six points is a bit embarassing, considering the fact Chelsea players and the great manager himself were taunting us how they would overtake us as soon as the New Year came.
Date:Wednesday January 3 2007
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