Chelsea Players Have To Be Humble – Mourinho

MourinhoChelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, has identified problems at both ends of the pitch as the primary reasons for his team’s defeat at Leicester City but believes a change of attitude can help turn their fortune around.

The manager was pleased with the fight his team showed in the final half-hour, but lamented defensive mistakes made for the home side’s goals and the wastefulness up front as the two factors that ensured the defending champions left the King Power Stadium empty-handed.

“I worked for four days on this match,” he said. “I prepared everything related to the opposition.

“I identified four movements where they score almost all of their goals. My players got all that information and training in the last three days. From the four types of situation I identified we conceded the first and the second goal. I think they listened and they are good enough, but the mistakes were there.

“I don’t want to focus only on the two goals we conceded, because in the past four or five matches we were defensively good and we had clean sheets,” he continued.

“We also have another problem which is the number of goals our attacking players are scoring, or in this case aren’t scoring. When we make defensive mistakes we are punished because we don’t score enough goals. The team pays for the number of goals our attacking players aren’t scoring.

“The good thing is the spirit – in the last 30 minutes they tried, they gave everything they had, they scored one goal, and they could have scored more.

“That’s the positive thing that makes me leave the dressing room with a feeling that isn’t as bad as the result, because in the last 30 minutes they were a team.

Eden Hazard was withdrawn with an injury during the first half having initially tried to play on.

Mourinho explained, “He made the decision in a few seconds. When he came off he said he couldn’t do it, a couple of seconds later he said he would try, and when he went back on two seconds later he immediately decided to go back off.”

With the January window approaching, Mourinho expressed his faith in his current players, “I don’t think it is right I go to the board and say these players are not good and we need to spend 50 or 100 or whatever.

“We have these players and it is with these players we have to go, and the players that are not performing well must feel attacked in their pride, in their self-esteem and they have to do everything to get results in a humble way.

“I don’t think they can feel they are top players or they are superstars. At the moment they have to be humble, they have to look to the Leicester boys and feel that they are the stars, they are the top players.

“They have to look to Sunderland and Watford and say: we are at the same level as you are. The players have to put their feet on their ground and be humble. We are where Sunderland are, we are below Watford by 10 points. The next two matches we play at Stamford Bridge we have to look to these opponents in a humble way.”

Chelsea Can Make Top Four, Mourinho Changes Tune

mourinhoJose Mourinho believes the competitive nature of this season’s Premier League means that if his side can put together a sequence of victories they still have a chance of finishing in the top four.

The manager was speaking to media at Cobham ahead of Monday’s trip to league leaders Leicester City, and this view is a sharp contrast to his earlier concession of the top four finish after the team’s 1-0 loss to AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Mourinho said that there were no fresh injury concerns for Monday’s fixture against Leicester City, managed by Claudio Ranieri, the man he replaced when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004.

Earlier in the week Ranieri said he thinks the Blues are still more than capable of securing a top-four finish, and Mourinho agrees.

“First of all, it’s nice from him,” the Portuguese said. “Nobody has any doubt that he hasn’t forgotten his time at Chelsea. Everyone who is at this club for a certain period of time likes the club very much and Ranieri is showing the nice feeling he has, but I also believe what he says.

“Before we lost three points against Bournemouth I was absolutely convinced about finishing fourth in the table and I was convinced about a great December for us.

“The reality is that some clubs are doing well and some others are not capable of doing what they are used to. It’s not easy for the top clubs to win three, four, five or 10 matches in a row now, so who knows?

“If we can get a run of four or five consecutive victories, because none of the other clubs are doing that, maybe we have a chance to make up the distance and dream of finishing fourth. While mathematically it’s possible we have to try.”

He also praised the Foxes for their performances up until the moment.

“They deserve to be where they are, let’s be honest,’ said the Blues boss. “I said a couple of weeks ago I didn’t believe they can be champions and maybe I have to think twice because it’s one thing to be top in September after a beautiful start, another is to be top in December, that’s a completely different story, so if they are there and get result after result, it’s because they can win the title.

“It would be something magnificent, something to impress the football world but sometimes these things can happen, so why not?

“They are there because they are doing magnificently well, we are where we are because we are doing badly. We have the same potential as last season, the same manager, same players, so if we are where we are it’s because we are underperforming.

“He (Ranieri) is going to win the manager of the month award and he should win more than that, he should win manager of half-term. If you could give an award for the first six months of the competition everybody is miles away from him and every club is miles away from what Leicester are doing. I know the distance between them and Man United, Man City, Arsenal is only a few points but they are the ones who deserve all the respect and compliments.

“One year ago they were bottom of the league and Ranieri was sacked by the Greece national team for losing to the Faroe Islands, now he is the top manager in the Premier League and their players are top of the league. That’s the beauty, it’s fantastic.”

I was Nervous Before Sunderland Game – Wenger

wengerWenger has admitted that he was “nervous” before kick-off, but later found joy in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory against a robust Sunderland side on Saturday.

Arsène Wenger explained that his fears were because he knew the result would be “pivotal” to their season as victory would give his side confidence going into Wednesday’s Champions League decider at Olympiacos.

“In my mind I was a little bit more nervous than usual because I felt it was a pivotal game,” he told Arsenal Player. “It was our first game without the injured players and we absolutely had to win.

“We played against a difficult team who were well organised and good on the break, so all the ingredients were there for a disappointing result. Because we hadn’t won for three games people would have said we were in a crisis, so it was important to get the win.

“We were a bit edgy, a bit nervous, in the first half but in the second half we played with more freedom, fluency and incisiveness which is how we won the game. It was a tough one and if you look at the results in the Premier League it was like that.

“It’s been a good day for us, because we have won the game and that makes helps us prepare for Olympiacos. Secondly it puts us in an interesting position again and that’s all positive. The squad that was out there for Sunderland – the good news is that we won and that we don’t have any injuries. It makes it obvious for the media to guess who will go to Olympiacos.”

Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were all on target in a convincing display at Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners ended their run of three games without a win in the Premier League.

Mourinho Gives Up On Top 4 Finish

MourinhoJose Mourinho has admitted Chelsea may have to accept that a top-four finish is beyond them.

The Barclays Premier League champions slumped to their eighth defeat of the season as Glenn Murray’s header sealed a shock 1-0 win for AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Mourinho, whose side sit on 15 points, 14 behind fourth-placed Manchester United, believes that UEFA Champions League qualification may well be out of the question.

“Before the game I was still thinking we could finish top four,” he said.

“I am very disappointed with this result, not in the performance because in the second half the performance was good but let’s think about the next game and forget the targets because without consistency it’s difficult.”

Mourinho also criticised his team’s inability to convert the many crosses that were sent into the opponent’s goal area which his attackers could not connect with.

He considers them big chances that could have changed the outcome of the match.

Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea Welcome Key Players

Premier LeagueArsenal have received a boost ahead of Sunderland’s trip to the Emirates with the news that defender Kieran Gibbs will be fit to return, while Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny are also in contention.

There are reports that Walcott and Koscielny could feature, but both will face a late fitness test prior to the game.

Walcott has spent almost two months on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury in Arsenal’s 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday back in October, leaving Olivier Giroud as the club’s only fit striker with Danny Welbeck yet to feature this season.

Despite being in fourth place and without a win in three games, Arsenal could still go top of the Premier League with a victory, as table toppers Manchester City are just two points ahead of the North Londoners.

Chelsea Boosted By Return Of Courtois

Jose Mourinho is also pleased to welcome back goalkeeper Courtois, after knee surgery and is set to be involved when Eddie Howe’s men visit Stamford Bridge.

“We feel better, we feel safe,” the Chelsea manager said about the Belgian’s return. “He was our goalkeeper all last season and was fundamental for us.”

But Mourinho will be without John Terry (ankle), Ramires and Radamel Falcao (muscular injuries) while striker Loic Remy is available again after missing last week’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur,

Hazard stated his confidence that Chelsea can kick on during the hectic match schedule in December.

Aguero And Toure Out For Stoke Trip

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are among seven players to have been ruled out of Manchester City’s trip to Stoke City on Saturday lunchtime.

It had been hoped that Aguero would be available for the trip to the Britannia Stadium, where they have only won one of their last seven league matches, but the striker has been ruled out with the heel injury he suffered against Southampton last weekend.

And Toure also misses out after picking up a muscle problem. He joins Captain Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Patrick Roberts and Pablo Zabaleta on the sidelines, while Eliaquim Mangala is suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card on Matchweek 14.

Premier League Week 15 Fixtures

Saturday 5 December 2015

12:45    Stoke v Man City             Britannia Stadium

15:00    Arsenal v Sunderland    Emirates Stadium

15:00    Man Utd v West Ham     Old Trafford

15:00    Southampton v Aston Villa         St. Mary’s Stadium

15:00    Swansea v Leicester       Liberty Stadium

15:00    Watford v Norwich        Vicarage Road

15:00    West Brom v Spurs         The Hawthorns

17:30    Chelsea v Bournemouth               Stamford Bridge

Sunday 6 December 2015

16:00    Newcastle v Liverpool  St. James’ Park

Monday 7 December 2015

20:00    Everton v Crystal Palace

Wenger Blames Fatigue For Arsenal’s Performance Against Sunderland

ArsenalArsène Wenger believes fatigue played a part in the inability Arsenal to break down Sunderland’s brave resistance in their rescheduled league match on Wednesday night.

Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s goalless draw against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.

On the draw against Sunderland, Wenger said, “You can say that we dominated possession and we lacked a bit of sharpness in our movement, in the way we prepared our chances and in our finishing as well.

“Physically it was an intense game on Sunday from what we have analysed and we were a bit jaded tonight. We haven’t scored in the last three games at home and the fact that we couldn’t score played a big part in our spontaneous attitude when finishing.”

Wenger admitted that his team showing fatigue ahead of the FA Cup final is “a little bit of a concern” but there’s nearly two weeks to go. He, however, was not sure if he would rest players in the team’s final league match on Sunday.

“Have I got any nerves about finishing third? No. We want to win our game on Sunday, that’s all. We want to prepare to win the game on Sunday. You could see that some players are a bit [tired].

“We played our 56th game of the season tonight and some players have given a lot. We still have time to recover for Sunday and prepare well for the FA Cup final. What is important now is that we win on Sunday.”

Sunderland went into the game needing a draw to secure safety from relegation and they went for it with a defensive formation to frustrate Arsenal.

“We played with three strikers. Two wingers and one centre forward. We had the full backs going forward. Sebastian Coates especially and John O’Shea defended our crosses very well. We didn’t look like scoring, even if we had 28 shots on goal.

“There was something missing always and you could see that they would throw their body in every time. We needed something special to score tonight because they defended very well”, Wenger said.

He continued, “When you don’t win, you’re frustrated and tonight some players looked like they had not completely recovered from Sunday. Now we know that the point we took at Manchester United was vital. Had we lost that game, then we would be in trouble.”

Sunderland held their nerves in an outstanding manner to secure Premier League football next season and Wenger could not deny this.

“You have to expect your opponent to play well and you to be good enough to beat them despite that. Overall it is what it is.

“We are in a strong position now to finish in the top three. Let’s do it and finish the season well in the cup final. We have to recover. It’s important to win on Sunday and give a good final game to our fans. After that we need to prepare for the FA Cup final,” he said.

Asides third place being relatively secure, Wenger would also take solace in the performances of his recovering players, particularly Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.

He (Wilshere) did alright. He had a good change of pace, he gave a good chance to Mesut Ozil in the first half and he worked very hard for a guy who has not started since November. He was good. Theo Walcott came on and played well, Kieran Gibbs has done well. That’s positive.”

EPL: Liverpool Confident Of Victory Over Chelsea

Brendan RogersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is confident his Liverpool players possess the necessary ingredients to get the better of title rival Chelsea when the two teams meet at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool will go into the game five points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side following an unexpected victory by bottom club Sunderland at Chelsea which Liverpool took advantage of with its 3-2 win at Norwich City on Sunday.

Beating Chelsea on Sunday would put Liverpool closer to its first ever Premier League title with two games left to play.

Rodgers gave an insight into the philosophy that has helped the team get to the top of the league table, crushing teams like Arsenal and Liverpool along the way.

“When they are in the changing room just before we go out, I always tell them, ‘Lose yourself, focus on the ball and focus on the team. If you do that, then we can be a real force,’ ” he said.

“You have seen all the characteristics of our team today (Sunday) — wonderful invention and creativity, courage, arrogance on the ball, goal-scoring, young players and senior players all playing, and instructions that allow them to express themselves.

“It’s going to be a brilliant game next weekend with Chelsea coming to Anfield. The supporters will be right up for it and the players as well. We are looking forward to it.”

Raheem Sterling scored two of Liverpool’s goals at Carrow Road, either side of Luis Suarez’s 30th Premier League goal of the season, and Rodgers hailed the England international for his contribution.

“He is arguably the best young player in European football at the moment,” Rodgers said.

EPL: Tomas Rosicky Determined To Win With Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky celebrates Arsenal's third goal with the scorer of the first two, Olivier Giroud. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has pledged his future to Arsenal in the belief that the club has all that they needs to end their lengthy trophy drought.

The Czech playmaker is out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 season, but Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger revealed at the weekend that he expects that Rosicky would sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

The 33-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, impressed when he took the place of Mesut Ozil in the team against Sunderland on Saturday, crowning his performance with a sublime goal.

Rosicky’s time at the club has been hampered by a number of injuries, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a hamstring tendon problem that almost ended his career.

But he is back in Wenger’s plans and remains convinced he is at the right place to win silverware sooner rather than later.

“I always believed in it here at Arsenal and still do. I knew this club was the right place for me and I want to be here for as long as I can,” Rosicky told the official Arsenal magazine.

“It is obviously very difficult to predict how long I can go on for, (but) I feel very good. I don’t feel any different than in the past, I don’t feel any change in myself.

“All I can say is that I still have a big passion to achieve things and that is really important.

“You must have that force, that drive to go on and achieve something and I definitely still have that.

“I was nearly out of the game because of injury, so I have a different approach now because I know it could end at any point. I just want to be successful with Arsenal.

“I won three titles in the Czech Republic before I left (Sparta Prague), I won the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I still believe I can do it here.

“I wouldn’t stay here if I didn’t believe.

“The idea of winning the (Premier) League and the Champions League really drives me forward, I love it”, Rosicky said.

Champions League: Belief Is The Key For Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal have the belief to challenge Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last-16 more effectively than they did a year ago, Coach Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 18).

Having met at the same stage of the competition last season, Arsenal will be out to avenge defeat by Bayern as, despite winning the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, they were eliminated on away goals after losing 3-1 at home.

At the start of February, Wenger identified it as a crucial month for the London side and results so far in the tougher games have been mixed.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup to avenge a 5-1 drubbing in the Premier League and drew 0-0 with defending champions Manchester United.

At a news conference on Tuesday (February 18), Wenger took heart from the FA Cup wins over Liverpool and over local rivals Tottenham in the previous round as he prepared his side to face champions Bayern.

“We know that we face the favourites of the competition and what we have is belief, because on the opposite we have had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup because we played against Tottenham, we played against Liverpool. Since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent. We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

“It gave us belief to finish well the season last year and from then on I think as well since the start of the season we have done well. We are in a strong position and it’s now down to us how we can from game to game show the same focus as against Liverpool.”

“I think we are in much better mental shape than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn (Rovers) at home in the FA Cup and it was a big disappointment for us, this time we won against Liverpool and we are really determined of course to win this game tomorrow.

“We have a strong team spirit that is for sure and a strong desire to do well and a united team. But it’s important as well; I believe we always had these kinds of qualities but not always the belief. Belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger of course.”

Wenger is expected to ring the changes against a Bayern side that have lost once in 34 games and won 13 straight Bundesliga matches.

Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczcesny are all pushing for starts and with Mikel Arteta suspended, Tomas Rosicky could start in midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini.

Jack Wilshere may also bolster Arsenal’s midfield in view of the difficult task of stifling Bayern’s powerhouse midfield, with Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez supplying balls for Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.

The 20-year-old England international is confident Arsenal can rise to the challenge posed by the German side.

“We’ve spoken about the importance of staying in the game, if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying, the away goal is massive in this competition, especially when it comes to these big games.

“That’s what we saw last year, we went out on away goals and this year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game,” said Wilshere, who has scored two goals in six Champions League appearances this season.