EPL Gameweek 8, Preview: Mourinho warns Chelsea to beware another Palace coup
Jose Mourinho has warned his Chelsea stars to beware another significant setback at Crystal Palace on Saturday as the Premier League leaders return to action after the international break.
London: Jose Mourinho has warned his Chelsea stars to beware another significant setback at Crystal Palace on Saturday as the Premier League leaders return to action after the international break.
Mourinho`s side lead the table by five points after winning six of their first seven matches and are widely expected to cement that position when they travel to Selhurst Park this weekend.
But Blues boss Mourinho remembers only too well that Palace dealt a major blow to Chelsea`s title challenge with a shock 1-0 victory in the corresponding fixture last season.
That loss in March prompted Mourinho to concede Chelsea wouldn`t win the title and his team eventually finished in third place.
"It was one of those games where I lost and I deserve to lose," Mourinho said.
"I know why I lost. I accept that. Last season we lost there because they were better than us, in every aspect of the game."
Chelsea lacked "balls" on that occasion, Mourinho said at the time, but he is confident they can exert their own influence more decisively this time.
"We have more personality to impose our game," Mourinho said.
"In their style, Crystal Palace is better than us. I think we have to try to play our game and not their game."
Defending champions Manchester City, currently second, are at home to Tottenham and on-loan midfielder Frank Lampard has told his team-mates to be wary of a revitalised Spurs.
"They may go through a slight transitional period but I was very impressed with their manager (Mauricio Pochettino) when he was at Southampton and if he can bring the same imprint on Tottenham, who arguably have more quality within their squad, they`ll do really well," Lampard said.
Yet one of the success stories of the season so far has been the way in which south coast side Southampton, despite losing their manager and several key players to top-flight rivals, have nevertheless flourished under new manager Ronald Koeman to be third in the table ahead of their match at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
Such has been the impact the former Dutch international has made at St Mary`s there have been calls for him to take charge of the Netherlands national side, who have lost two of their opening three Euro 2016 qualifiers after finishing third at this year`s World Cup in Brazil.But as far as Koeman is concerned, his country missed their chance to install him as manager when they opted for Guus Hiddink following Louis van Gaal`s post-World Cup departure to Manchester United.
"I hope to stay here for my whole contract, but it`s football," said Koeman, who signed a three-year deal with the Saints.
"There`s certainly no chance to move now out of Southampton.
"I was interested in that job, because when I left Feyenoord I was nominated to be the national coach but the federation chose Hiddink."
Arsenal face Hull in a repeat of last season`s thrilling FA Cup final where the Gunners came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and claim their first major trophy in nine years.
Bottom of the table QPR welcome Liverpool to Loftus Road on Sunday.
There has been growing speculation that QPR`s owner, Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, could sack veteran manager Harry Redknapp.
But QPR centre-half Rio Ferdinand, who made his name at West Ham under Redknapp, urged Fernandes to remain patient.
"We are not even in double figures for the amount of games played yet," former Manchester United and England star Ferdinand said.
"To push the panic button now would be crazy in my eyes. Harry still comes across to me as a fighter and a man with a lot of fight left in him."
After a shaky start, Manchester United under van Gaal are now fourth and amongst the Champions League places.
They will look to hold on to that position when they travel to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Fixtures (1400GMT unless stated):
Arsenal v Hull, Burnley v West Ham, Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Everton v Aston Villa, Manchester City v Tottenham (1145GMT), Newcastle v Leicester, Southampton v Sunderland
QPR v Liverpool (1230GMT), Stoke v Swansea (1500GMT)
West Brom v Manchester United (1900GMT)