LIVERPOOL (AFP) – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refused to entertain talk of an unbeaten season after seeing his side strengthen their position at the Premier League summit by winning 2-1 at Liverpool.
Diego Costa’s 67th-minute goal gave Chelsea victory at Anfield on Saturday, helping his side extend an unbeaten league run stretching back to March and fuelling comparisons with Arsenal’s 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’.
But Mourinho believes that suggestions his team could emulate that Arsenal side by going through an entire season without losing a game are fanciful.
“No chance,” he said when asked about his side’s prospects of avoiding defeat between now and May 24.
“It’s possible to be champions. We want to play for that, but in modern football I don’t believe in going unbeaten all season.
“One day we will lose, but the next game we will win again. We will play badly, but we will recover our game because we are a strong team.
“We a stable team, but I have been in the game so long I know the defeat will arrive and the bad moment will arrive. We will be ready for that. we believe in everyone.
“We are a happy camp. We believe in the players.”
Victory moved Chelsea 15 points above Liverpool, who finished runners-up in the league last season and had appeared likely to win the title before losing this corresponding fixture late in the campaign.
However, Mourinho is not ready to discount the threat posed by Brendan Rodgers’s club or claim that the title race will be a comfortable one.
“If this was the Spanish league or German league or Portuguese league, when you have two teams trying to become champions, then you are almost there with 15 points,” he said.
“But this is England. Every match is difficult. In England, you can lose points in every game. It’s not (just) about Liverpool; it’s Man City, Man United, Arsenal, it’s about Tottenham, it’s about Southampton.
“We are in a good situation. We have played the four games in Manchester and Liverpool – at Everton, Liverpool, City, United. Four very hard matches. But it’s only the start of November.”
Mourinho saw Gary Cahill cancel out Emre Can’s opening goal before Costa slammed home the winner and he paid special tribute to midfielders Ramires and Cesc Fabregas, both of whom played through injury.
Rodgers, whose side failed with a strong late penalty claim against Cahill for handball, has endured a difficult week that also featured a league loss at Newcastle United and Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.
He was widely criticised for resting key players in the game at Madrid with a view to the Chelsea encounter, but he insisted he would do the same thing again if the situation arose.
“I’d hopefully win all three games,” said Rodgers when asked if he would do anything differently if given the chance. “But we plan the players and the team the best we can, so I wouldn’t do anything differently at all.
“We just didn’t get the results. Hopefully, this will be an experience for us and we will use that to be better going forward.”
Rodgers was also booed by large sections of the Anfield crowd when he replaced the popular Philippe Coutinho in the second half, in a rare sign of disapproval by home supporters towards their manager.
“I didn’t feel we were creating enough and had to change the momentum,” he explained.
“The supporters here are a big part of what we’re doing. Of course they will be frustrated. They have seen us lose three games this week.
“I totally understand that, it is not an issue. They give us great support and it is just frustration all round.”