Azpilicueta out, Courtois available for Swansea clash
Jose Mourinho acknowledged Chelsea’s difficult run of away fixtures will continue today, when his team takes on Gary Monk’s Swansea City. Mourinho gave an insight on his team’s recent slump in away games and also the changes to his squad.
Mourinho said, ”Courtois is fit. I’m not saying he’s 100% but not many players are 100% to play football during a season. There is always a pain here, a pain there, an ankle swelling or something like that. He had a problem with his finger against Tottenham but if we need him to play he is ready to play.”
Mourinho reaffirmed that his team boasts two of the best Premier League goalkeepers. He added, ‘I have the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. I decide with the keepers the same way I decide with the outfield players. My decision against Newcastle was very simple. Who is a better goalkeeper: a 100% Petr Cech or an 85% fit Thibaut Courtois? It was easy for me to make a decision.’
Chelsea’s last away game ended in defeat at Tottenham and Mourinho completely denied that there were cracks emerging the Chelsea Foundation. He said, No, we have been top of the league since day one and there because we deserve to be there.’
‘There are lots of difficult matches and you can’t win every match. It’s been a difficult period for us – Newcastle, Stoke, Southampton, Tottenham away, and now Swansea. We knew it would be very difficult to keep a run of consecutive victories but I think we showed clearly we didn’t have a psychological problem with the fact the distance to Man City and Man United was reduced.’
‘We made mistakes defensively against Tottenham and after that we beat Newcastle 2-0 - another clean sheet and back to normality which is to be a balanced team and not make many mistakes defensively. I have fantastic defenders. The team defends very, very well.’
‘What we as a team have done is enough for us to be top of the league on 16 January. It was good enough to reach our objectives and to be alive in the three knock-out competitions.’
‘We have young players and a young team. We have a lot of space to improve, not just this season but next season and the season after, but we have always been in control of our emotions and we are ready for the second part of the season.’
When asked about the quality of refereeing in the Premier League, he replied, ‘I think the referees’ standard is good. ‘If people did what I did - work in three other countries - you would realize the standard of refereeing is good.’
He added, ‘I don’t think I have to repeat what I’ve said already. We are not against the referees; we understand their job isn’t an easy one.’
Mourinho also praised Swansea city, who sold Wilfried Bony to Manchester City recently. ‘I know they have a very good team, and very good teams don’t depend on one player,’ he pointed out. He added, ‘They depend more on their organisation, their philosophy, and the way they think and play football. Swansea are a good example of that. The work in the club has been magnificent.
Diego Costa demonstrated his killer instinct with a hat-trick as Chelsea came out on top in a 4-2 win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture.