EPL

Mourinho hasn't been tipped off about Chelsea team again… yet

By Sports Desk November 27, 2020

Jose Mourinho says he has not yet been tipped off about the Chelsea team, having claimed he received some inside information ahead of Tottenham's previous Premier League meeting with their London rivals.

Spurs travelled to Stamford Bridge in February, their second tussle with the Blues since Mourinho had been appointed the previous November.

Chelsea beat Spurs 2-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a month into Mourinho's reign, though the Portuguese appeared to have the upper hand in the return meeting earlier this year.

Mourinho claimed he had been given an insight into Chelsea's formation and starting XI, though he did not identify his source.

However, Chelsea again emerged victorious, beating Spurs 2-1 thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso.

Mourinho is yet to receive another tip-off, but he doubts it would make much difference even if he was told Frank Lampard's set-up for Sunday.

When asked in his pre-match news conference if he had managed to acquire any inside knowledge, Mourinho said: "Not yet – or probably not.

"But with such an amazing squad…to play [Reece] James or [Cesar] Azpilicueta, or play [Ben] Chilwell, Alonso or Emerson [Palmieri], to play [Edouard] Mendy or play the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of the Premier League [Kepa Arrizabalaga]…

"Chelsea has an amazing squad, so I'm not even worried about who is going to play because they only have very good players."

The match will see Mourinho return to the club where he enjoyed two spells as manager, guiding them to eight trophies – including three Premier League crowns – since 2004.

But since his most recent spell with Chelsea he has managed two Premier League rivals in Manchester United and now Spurs, his relationship with Blues fans taking a hit as a result.

As such, the 57-year-old was particularly blunt when asked how he felt seeing Lampard and Jody Morris – both of whom played or worked under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge – steering the ship.

"It's another game for me, no problem at all," he responded.

Mourinho was without Hugo Lloris, Giovani Lo Celso and Steven Bergwijn for Thursday's 4-0 Europa League win over Ludogorets but believes all three have a chance of featuring at the weekend as Spurs look to remain top of the table – not that the manager is overly concerned about the league hierarchy for the moment.

"Maybe we don't go [stay] top of the table there [after the game], maybe Liverpool get a point or victory at Brighton, so maybe we don't go top, but going there with us top or Liverpool top doesn't change anything for us," Mourinho said.

"As I've been saying since the start of the season, we are always contenders to win the next match, nothing more than that, so we are going to be there, three possible results.

"We've been in football a long time, we know everything can happen. We go there, our objective is to win the game."

Related items

  • Barcelona 2-3 Athletic Bilbao (aet): Messi sent off as Williams stuns Barca Barcelona 2-3 Athletic Bilbao (aet): Messi sent off as Williams stuns Barca

    Lionel Messi was sent off for the first time in his Barcelona career after Inaki Williams scored a sublime goal that gave Athletic Bilbao a shock 3-2 win in the Supercopa de Espana final.

    The Catalan giants were on the brink of a record-extending 13th triumph in the competition after Antoine Griezmann scored twice, either side of Oscar De Marcos' equaliser, to put Barcelona 2-1 up late on in normal time.

    But Athletic, who knocked out holders Real Madrid in the semi-finals, equalised through substitute Asier Villalibre in the 90th minute and Williams scored early on in the additional period to turn the tie on its head.

    Messi was then sent off in the dying moments of extra time when VAR spotted an off-the-ball incident involving Villalibre, as the Argentinian violently knocked the Athletic player to the ground.

  • Inter midfielders set benchmark to end misery against Juve Inter midfielders set benchmark to end misery against Juve

    If Juventus are "a benchmark" and "a reference point", as Antonio Conte suggested pre-match, the Inter head coach can now feel much more positive about his side's Scudetto hopes after a superb 2-0 win.

    Conte, formerly the main man in Turin, had good reason to be pessimistic even as the Nerazzurri entered the Derby d'Italia four points ahead of the champions.

    Juve were the only Serie A opponents against whom Conte possessed an 100 per cent losing record, beaten in each of his prior three matches against his former club.

    And Inter's misery in this fixture extended beyond the start of Conte's reign, going seven without a win as Juve used meetings with the Nerazzurri to consolidate their domestic dominance.

    Indeed, there was little reason heading into this match to doubt Juve's credentials, with Andrea Pirlo's side seemingly building up a head of steam in his rookie season.

    The Bianconeri had followed up a shock December defeat at home to Fiorentina with four straight successes in all competitions, scoring 13 times in the process.

    Among those victories was a deserved triumph at league leaders Milan. Juve had not won at both Milan and Inter in the first half of a Serie A season in 80 years; they now had the opportunity to do so in consecutive away games.

    But preparations were not ideal. Cristiano Ronaldo, like opposite number Romelu Lukaku, had not been able to enjoy the week of rest he had set aside, instead called from the bench in a midweek Coppa Italia tie and forced to see out extra time.

    Ronaldo played on the fringes at San Siro, his most notable involvement an 11th-minute tap-in ruled out for offside, with the clash between two of Serie A's foremost scorers not panning out as many would have imagined.

    Lukaku was as influential as ever in the Inter attack, running Giorgio Chiellini ragged as he contested 15 duels, winning nine, earned three fouls and conceded two, and created three chances.

    There was no goal for the forward, though, as the game was decided in the midfield, where Inter were even more impressive, setting the tone right from the outset.

    Marcelo Brozovic anchored the side, Nicolo Barella buzzed all over the pitch, and Arturo Vidal - the subject of a clip on social media that appeared to show him kissing the badge of former club Juve pre-match - made clear where his loyalties now lie.

    Conte had failed to offer an explanation for some slow starts so far this season but certainly had no need to worry about that issue on this occasion. By half-time, Inter's only concern could have been their failure to add to a lead secured by Vidal.

    The midfielder, whose previous Serie A goal back in 2015 had won Juve the title, spread the ball wide to Barella moments after Ronaldo's disallowed goal and then ran onto the subsequent cross, towering over Danilo to nod beyond Wojciech Szczesny and offer a muted celebration.

    That was one of 11 first-half Inter efforts, their joint-high this season. Juve mustered just three before the break, a joint-low for them.

    But this unpredictable Inter side had led 4-1 and trailed 2-0 respectively on the previous two occasions they had attempted 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes this term.

    Juan Sebastian Veron, a former Inter star, told Stats Perform News prior to this game the Nerazzurri would "need to be decisive". Despite the opener, they were anything but.

    Vidal's wait for his next Serie A strike should have lasted only three minutes, but he blazed over. Then so too did Lautaro Martinez after Szczesny saved from Lukaku.

    Martinez shot wide and Szczesny again denied Lukaku, before scrambling to retrieve Barella's deflected drive. A one-goal first-half deficit felt like an escape for Juve.

    But if the Bianconeri were going to make their hosts pay, a swifter start to the second period would have to follow.

    Instead, Inter scored with their very first shot after the break and finally the game was beyond Juve. A slipping Alessandro Bastoni's low, long pass somehow tore a gaping hole through the visiting defence and Barella, a deserving scorer, held off Chiellini and Gianluca Frabotta to finish high into the net.

    Rather than call on Weston McKennie and Dejan Kulusevski to build on an advantage, as against Milan, Pirlo turned to the pair in a desperate, failed rescue bid.

    Juve still had 32 minutes to forge a response after reinforcements arrived, but one strong Samir Handanovic save from Federico Chiesa was all they had to show for a period of pressure.

    Inter could have added further goals on the counter yet will worry not. Indecisive, perhaps, Conte's side ended the weekend level on points with Milan. It is now for Pirlo and Juve, seven points back, to rise to this benchmark.

  • Resurgent Stones went 'back to basics' to regain form and confidence Resurgent Stones went 'back to basics' to regain form and confidence

    John Stones has explained his decision to go "back to basics" in a bid to rediscover his form for Manchester City.

    Stones scored twice – his third brace for club and country – in City's 4-0 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

    The win, City's fifth in succession in the top flight, sent Pep Guardiola's team into second place above defending champions Liverpool, who could only draw with leaders Manchester United at Anfield.

    Though Palace, shorn of the injured Wilfried Zaha, were hardly a threat, Stones and his centre-back partner Ruben Dias were rock solid as City gave boss Guardiola an early birthday present the day before he turns 50.

    City are the first team to record five consecutive victories in the Premier League this season, while in the 10 games Stones and Dias have started together in all competitions, Guardiola's side have claimed nine wins, one draw and conceded just once.

    Stones, a big-money signing from Everton in 2016, appeared to be surplus to requirements after an injury-hit 2019-20 campaign, with the 26-year-old handed just 12 league starts.

    However, his first Premier League goals for City – and his first in the top flight since he netted for Everton against United in April 2015 – have capped off a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

    "We knew it was a tough game today. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get goals. I need to contribute by getting those goals," Stones told Sky Sports.

    "I'm just trying to keep improving, building day by day on the training pitch, give a platform for the lads to express themselves up the pitch and get some goals.

    "We're taking great pride in it, keeping clean sheets, it's what we're there to do. Hopefully we can keep the run going, keep as many clean sheets as we can because we know how vital they are in big games and in games like today.

    "We know what'll happen if we keep getting them. We don't have to go out and score four or five goals every week. We've done it when it's 1-0 and we've fought right until the 90th minute. We kind of take the credit at the back but we've got to give credit to the whole team."

    Asked how tough it had got when he was out of the side, Stones replied: "Very. It's always tough when you're not playing and you don't get a run of games, and when you do you don't perform to what you can do because maybe you've put too much pressure on yourself.

    "I've gone back to basics, looked at myself first, looked at what I can improve on in every aspect. 

    "You need to look yourself in the mirror and ask if I'm doing everything for myself and for the team and I did that, kept working hard, kept the faith and grinding away, keep trying to improve and I still am now. I don't think you ever stop improving yourself."

    Stones' first goal was a glancing header from Kevin De Bruyne's sensational outside-of-the-boot cross – the Belgium midfielder's 100th assist for City.

    "Kevin's done it over the seasons that I've been here," Stones said.

    "I remember a few, off the top of my head, to Leroy [Sane] when he was here, some outrageous passes that you just don't know how he's done it.

    "As he's put the ball in I knew it was coming straight to me. It's something we can only dream of and Kev can just do it when he wants."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.