Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claims his side were ‘not afraid’ as they won 2-0 at Stoke City in Matchday 17 of the English Premier League on Monday, which put the Blues three points clear at the top of the league table, as they pulled away again from second-placed Manchester City.
Mourinho’s men will be at the top at Christmas – and the past three times they have done that and gone on to win the league title.
John Terry and Cesc Fabregas notched the goals on the second and 78th minute respectively at the Britannia, which took Chelsea’s record to only one loss in 26 games this season.
“It is a victory that means more than three points,” said Mourinho.
“Not just because it is difficult but also to win at Stoke you need more than just your quality.”
“My players were a team, they were together, they coped well with a difficult style and our creative players were not afraid.”
The visitors’ winger Eden Hazard was flattened by the hosts’ defender Phil Bardsley in the first half and Mourinho said he might have been sent off, but praised Hazard for his reaction.
“He did a lot. We needed that because we decided to play John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic so we lost one creative player,” said the Portuguese boss.
“Hazard, Fabregas and Willian were not afraid to create. They give their bodies to the game and I think Hazard was fantastic. After the tackle by Bardsley it was a difficult match for the kid but also for Bardsley because Hazard is playing fantastic.”
“From my position, Bardsley looked to me a red card, but I don’t know. What I do know is that if it was a bad tackle, it was the only one.”
Mourinho also praised his side’s skipper and defender Terry.
He said: “More important than his goal is the way he is playing.”
“When I came here last season, he was a bit in trouble, his career was a bit up and down and not playing regularly.”
“In the last two years, he is playing every game and at the standard he was playing from 2004-07.”
“He is happy and when you are happy and feel confident it is easier.”