As Chelsea edge towards a first league title since 2005, Jose Mourinho has hailed the performance of his players over the course of the season.
The Blues opened the 2014/15 campaign with a 3-1 win at promoted Burnley, and then went on to win 10 of their next 13 matches before suffering a first defeat at Newcastle United in December. Such a sequence of results allowed them to get a grip on the title race from the very first weekend, and as they move within touching distance of glory, Mourinho has paid tribute to his players.
“It is phenomenal what the team are doing. Being top of the league since day one is not easy,” he told Sky Sports. “My experience in football is just worry about my feelings. I know what I feel in relation to the work we have been doing in the last two years. I don’t need other people to recognise what we are, I know what we are. In a very pragmatic way, we are what every team wants to be.”
Having beat Nigel Pearson’s in-form Leicester City 3-1 at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday night, Chelsea can now wrap up the title on Sunday afternoon when they welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge. Mourinho’s side are unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season, and have not lost in front of their own fans in this competition for just over 12 months.
Goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires gave the Blues the win against the Foxes, who had taken the lead through Marc Albrighton. Speaking ahead of the visit of the Eagles, Mourinho added: “Stamford Bridge must be ready to push the team next Sunday. We need to be celebrating the title, as we do not have the title. We need them to push us to the three points we need.”
How does this Chelsea side compare to the one Carlo Ancelotti led to the title five years ago, and to those teams that have won the crown in recent years?