José Mourinho says Chelsea are primed to win the “special” title. The manager and his team will be crowned the Premier League champions if they beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
This article titled “Chelsea’s Premier League title would be special, says José Mourinho” was written by David Hytner, for The Observer on Saturday 2nd May 2015 21.30 UTC
José Mourinho says Chelsea are primed to win the “special” title. The manager and his team will be crowned the Premier League champions if they beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. It would be his eighth league title in 13 seasons in four European countries and it would please him for many reasons, including the fact it would represent a breakthrough triumph for many of Chelsea’s younger players.
Mourinho also wanted to make it clear Chelsea had not bought this likely success, having almost broken even in terms of their spend on transfer fees since last summer. What was most pleasing, Mourinho suggested, was that the club were poised to come out on top of what he regards as the continent’s most competitive championship.
Mourinho, who has also managed in his native Portugal, Italy and Spain, says the Premier League title is more noteworthy because, unlike Germany, Scotland, Switzerland or Greece it is not dominated by a single powerhouse club. “If I say it’s very special, people will say I say that because I’m here,” he said.
“But the reality is that if somebody can speak about the difference between the leagues and what it takes to be champion in different leagues, if somebody is in a good position to say that, it’s myself, because I was in different places. Here is really special, and it’s really difficult.”
Mourinho says that a first Premier League title for players such as Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Nemanja Matic would give them the taste for more glory and serve as an important step in him creating a new generation of winners at Stamford Bridge.
“When they have the taste of success, the big players want more,” he said. “There are people who are happy with just one victory but the big ones, when they feel that taste, they want more. The big ones are not tired of winning.
“Sir Alex Ferguson and Paolo Maldini, and all these big people as players, as managers … it’s from day one until their last day in the game. They want to win, so I hope these people get the good taste. That’s maybe also why the Capital One Cup victory [over Tottenham Hotspur on 1 March] was important for the group. Win a title, enjoy Wembley, enjoy the happiness of the supporters and the group. Win, it brings more.”
Mourinho’s transfer business last summer has played a key part in a season that will end with two trophies, with the most successful deals being the recall from loan of the goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and the signings of the midfielder Cesc Fàbregas for £30m and the striker Diego Costa for £32m. Chelsea offset the purchases with some big sales – most notably those of David Luiz (£40m), Romelu Lukaku (£28m) and, at the end of the winter window, André Schürrle (£22m).
“It’s a great feeling because it’s my club, because of the league, because of the difference in the league and because, in this moment, we are not any more the rich club,” Mourinho said.
“We are a top club but one that lives with the work everyone does. It means a lot for lots of kids. It’s a first title for them – people that don’t know what it is to be champions. In the moment we clinch the title, I will be much more happy for them than myself.”
If Chelsea were to clinch the title on Sunday, there would be the prospect of Liverpool being asked to form the now traditional pre-match guard of honour. The two meet at Stamford Bridge next Sunday and there is no love lost between the clubs. “I don’t like the guard of honour,” Mourinho said. “If it’s tradition, that’s no problem for me [but] you can show respect for the winner in many different ways.
“If some of them don’t want to be there and they are there just because somebody tells them to be there, maybe it’s a bit artificial.”
Mourinho, though, will take nothing for granted against Alan Pardew’s Palace, because he is mindful of how his managerial counterpart loves to derail Chelsea. When Pardew was at Newcastle United, he beat Mourinho’s Chelsea at St James’s Park in December of last year and in November 2013.
“I don’t think Alan raises his game to play Chelsea, it’s for sure [he does],” Mourinho said, with a smile. “For his Newcastle, [it was] one thing to play against Chelsea; another thing to play against other teams. Maybe it’s because Alan is a Chelsea fan. He told me that a lot of times. He was born around here and he grew up as a Chelsea fan. The reality is that Alan’s teams, when they play against Chelsea, they play a different match, so I’m waiting for that – a Palace going with everything.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.