Chelsea's seven-point lead not decisive, says Jose Mourinho
The English Premier League is so competitive that a seven-point lead at the top of the table with 14 matches to go is no guarantee of winning the title, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday.
London: The English Premier League is so competitive that a seven-point lead at the top of the table with 14 matches to go is no guarantee of winning the title, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday.
Chelsea opened up that gap when they won 2-1 at Aston Villa on Saturday and second-placed Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw by Hull City.
Chelsea have an opportunity to increase that lead when they face under-performing Everton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday while City travel to Stoke City who beat the champions 1-0 at the Etihad in August.
"We are in the driving seat but seven points with 14 matches to go -- if it was 14 points with seven matches to go we`d be almost there," Mourinho, seeking a third title at Chelsea, told reporters.
"But seven points with 14 games left is a long way to go.
"It`s better than a zero-point lead but in England seven points isn`t much. In another country it would be a big lead because in every other country the top teams only lose points when they play each other. Here they can lose points to anyone."
Mourinho will have midfielder Cesc Fabregas back to face Everton after a hamstring injury kept him out of the last two games.
Didier Drogba or Loic Remy will start up front as suspended Diego Costa completes his three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool`s Emre Can the League Cup semi-final second leg.
Costa scored in the first and 90th minutes when Chelsea won 6-3 at Everton in August.
"We don`t have the player that is suspended so we have to stick with Didier (Drogba) and (Loic) Remy again," Mourinho said.
"We need the suspended player, but we have coped without him."
Striker Romelu Lukaku, who left Chelsea after making only one league start in three years, returns to Stamford Bridge in an Everton side who have won only two of their last 15 games in all competitions.
Lukaku has scored three times in his last six matches including one against West Ham United in the FA Cup and the winner against Crystal Palace in the league on Everton`s last two visits to London in the last month.
Everton left back Leighton Baines is again likely to miss out due to a knee injury.