Jose Mourinho on Tottenham's Injuries, Stamford Bridge Return & Strength of Opposition Ahead of Chelsea Clash

Nov 28, 2020, 12:00 PM GMT
Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has spoken to the media ahead of Tottenham's crunch battle with Chelsea on Sunday | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has backhandedly lauded the strength of Chelsea's squad ahead of Sunday's crunch Premier League bout.

The Lilywhites head into the contest top of the Premier League table after maintaining their unbeaten run from the opening weekend of the season with a 2-0 win against Manchester City last Saturday.

Another test of their credentials awaits, however, against a Chelsea side who have swiftly developed and matured under Frank Lampard this term. After a rather unconvincing start, the introduction of Hakim Ziyech into the side along with Edouard Mendy and N'Golo Kante in a holding role has coincided with an upturn in form, as Lampard looks to have established a balance in his star-studded squad.

The Blues are unbeaten in ten in all competitions, and will leapfrog Spurs at the top with a win at Stamford Bridge.

Ahead of another instalment of 'master vs apprentice', here's what Mourinho had to say in his pre-match presser.

On Injuries

Hugo Lloris, Giovani Lo Celso
Mourinho is hopeful both Hugo Lloris and Giovani Lo Celso will be fit for Sunday | Pool/Getty Images

Spurs have a few injury concerns heading into Sunday, but Mourinho is hopeful that the trio of Hugo Lloris, Giovani Lo Celso and Steven Bergwijn will all be passed fit after missing Thursday's 4-0 Europa League triumph over Ludogorets.

Lo Celso is understood to have picked up a small knock before the midweek encounter, although he was pictured in training on Friday.

"I want to believe yes [that the trio will be fit]. We could push but we didn’t want to risk, and this 12 players on the bench [in European games] gives you space for everything," said the Spurs boss (via Football London).

On Returning to Chelsea

Mourinho lifted three Premier League titles over two spells as Chelsea manager | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

Mourinho has returned to Stamford Bridge with Inter, Manchester United and now Tottenham - often unsuccessfully following his Nerazzurri side's triumph back in 2010.

Last season saw a depleted Spurs succumb to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Lampard's Blues in west London.

Mourinho, though, said that going back to his old club - where he won the Premier League three times - with his side potentially on top of the Premier League table, will not provide any extra pressure for him or his players.

"It’s another game for me, it’s another game for me. No problem at all," he said.

"Maybe we don't go top of the league there, maybe Liverpool gets a point or a victory at Brighton and then we don't go there top of the league. I don't even know that so going there top of the league or with Liverpool top doesn't change anything for us.

"As I was saying since the beginning of the season, we are always contenders to win the next match. Nothing more than that. We are going to be there, three possible results. We know anything can happen, but we go there and our objective is to win the game."

On the Strength of the Chelsea Squad

Olivier Giroud, Thiago Silva, Jorginho
The Blues invested heavily in the summer | John Berry/Getty Images

After claiming he was aware of Lampard's game plan ahead of Spurs' February defeat to Chelsea, Mourinho was initially asked whether he'd been tipped off again, to which he responded: "Not yet or probably not, I don't know."

And then, in typical Jose fashion, the Portuguese boss waxed lyrical over the overwhelming strength of the Blues squad, with Lampard overseeing more than £220m worth of arrivals in the summer.

"With such an amazing play [Reece] James or [Cesar] Azpilicueta, to play [Ben] Chilwell, [Marcos] Alonso or Emerson…

"To play [Edouard] Mendy or to play the most expensive goalkeeper of the history of the Premier League. Chelsea has an amazing squad. So, I am not even worried about who is going to play because they only have very good players," Mourinho said.