Chelsea secures Christmas lead – Mourinho praises hs players
Stoke City 0-2 Chelsea (goals from Terry and Fabregas)
‘To win here we must play a very good game. We did it because we adapted well to their style of play, when they had the ball. When we had the ball we tried not to lose our identity and play our game.
‘To score in the beginning is important but not so much in this stadium because they are always strong, the crowd is behind them and the team is mentally strong. They have good players, a good bench and Mark Hughes can make changes because he has players for that. It was a very difficult victory.
‘It’s a victory that means a bit more than the three points, not just because it’s difficult but because to win here you need to put more than just your quality in. The players were together, they coped well with a difficult style and were not afraid to have responsibility. Our creative players were not afraid to assume the game and create, our defensive players were very solid, so only with a great team performance is it possible to be successful against Stoke.’
He’s very dangerous at set-pieces. He’s a very good player and in the air. When he is on the pitch he is always a threat, but more importantly for me is the way he is playing this season. When I came here last season he was a bit in trouble, his career was a bit up and down and not playing regularly for Chelsea.
‘Now in the last two years he is playing every game, and for me the same level from 2004-2007 when I was here.
‘I think he adapts well to our training methodology, it’s a good way for a person with his body type to feel sharp and fast and in good condition. After that it’s happiness.
‘When you’re happy and confident it’s easier in any job. He knows the way I trust him, and he feels confident and happy and he’s playing very well.’
On the schedule ahead:
‘It’s very difficult. I have lots of respect for the players in this country. The moment they play in this country I respect them a lot.
‘At this moment the German guys are on the beach, the Spanish guys are in the Maldives getting sun, and in this country you play this day, Boxing Day, the 28th. There is no Christmas, just football. And the supporters give their respect because every match is sold out.’