Jose Mourinho warns against title complacency
Jose Mourinho insists the Premier League title race is not over even though Chelsea extended their lead at the top to seven points with a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa.
London: Jose Mourinho insists the Premier League title race is not over even though Chelsea extended their lead at the top to seven points with a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa.
Branislav Ivanovic`s second-half winner enabled the league leaders to take advantage of Manchester City`s 1-1 draw against Hull and strengthen their grip on pole position on Saturday.
It also meant Blues boss Mourinho finally claimed a first win at Villa Park at what was the sixth attempt.
But Mourinho was keen to play down the significance of his side`s advantage over City and he claimed he will take nothing for granted until another title is mathematically guaranteed.
"In another country I would say it`s fantastic, in this country I would say it`s nothing," Mourinho said.
"Every game is difficult, anything can happen. It`s very, very difficult.
"Seven points means seven points, we have 14 matches to go. We are speaking about 42 points to play for and in 42 we have a lead of seven. I think it`s nothing.
"I`m surprised by nothing. In this country every team can take points so I am not surprised.
"I didn`t care about it. Somebody told me after the game and that was it.
"When you are top of the league you don`t need other teams to lose points. If they lose, good, but if they don`t it`s not a problem.
"We have to focus on ourselves. If we win the next game we have a seven point lead with 13 matches to go. Let`s try to go step by step."Villa`s goal drought had finally ended at precisely the 11-hour mark after Jores Okore had cancelled out Eden Hazard`s opener, yet Ivanovic had the final say with his winner midway through the second half.
Paul Lambert`s side are now just two points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Tuesday`s crucial clash at fellow strugglers Hull.
"There`s a lot of good things to come out of the game for us, we`re disappointed to lose. I didn`t think we deserved to lose," Lambert said.
"Football-wise we played well. I thought the front three were excellent. The performance was very good.
"We`re coming into a run of games that, if we play like that, we`ll pick up points. It`s not just about 17th, we want to go as high as possible. That`s the standard they have set themselves."
The corresponding fixture between these sides last term was a tempestuous affair - two Chelsea players, Willian and Ramires, as well as Mourinho all dismissed - and this contest was much the same both on the pitch and in the dugout.
Lambert, who has had a series of spats with Mourinho in the past, was incensed in the first half by a comment from the Chelsea bench which prompted him to angrily gesticulate in their direction and remove and throw down his coat in disgust.
"I went to shake Jose`s hand (at the end) but he was halfway down the pitch so I didn`t get a chance," he added.
"He is a great manager, it`s fantastic what the guy has done. I`d love to learn from him as a football manager.
"But I wouldn`t like to learn things off the pitch by someone in his dugout, that`s for sure."