Stamford Bridge will play host to an enthralling London Derby as Tottenham Hotspur take on Chelsea on Wednesday night in the Premier League. With the hectic fixture list in the run-in to the New Year kicking off with midweek football, league leaders Chelsea will be hoping to get one over their city rivals.
Both managers were on top form as they spoke to the press ahead of the big match.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho spoke briefly on his team’s success so far and about Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal’s comments about the fixture congestion.
“It’s a first time for him,” says Mourinho. “Next season it will be easier for him. My way of making it easy for me is just to think what we are giving to the people.
“It is difficult for all of us but we are special because we are giving to the people something they love.”
When quizzed who would be delivering the pre-game team-talk, Mourinho played down the question.
“I think it is normal and every team does it. Sometimes it is always the manager that does it, other times players and other members of staff.
“It’s just a couple of words. We speak tactically two days before. I speak so much and we know so much about the opposition that in that moment it is just a comfort, a motivational couple of words.”
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino tried to play down Chelsea’s fantastic record at Stamford Bridge, preferring instead to concentrate on the match itself.
“It’s a big game, a London derby against one of the top teams in the league.
“It’s a difficult team we have to play against and that’s the only thing you have to think. We’re ready for it.
“I don’t think it [Chelsea’s record against Spurs] is important. I don’t speak about it with the players,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs go into match on the back of two consecutive wins against Everton and Hull City, and will be looking to halt Chelsea’s unbeaten run in the league.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois commented on the importance of the match-up against Tottenham, and the following match against Newcastle.
“It’s an important week with two difficult games. First a derby against Tottenham in front of our own fans and then we go away to Newcastle, which will be tough.
“It’s an important month and we will try to win as many games as we can,” said Courtois.
Spurs striker Harry Kane has been a revelation this season and has recently enjoyed a good run in the first team. Kane spoke of the team’s improving fortunes.
“This season we have stuck together in games and in pre-season, we get on well and we have shown that on the pitch.
“We were honest with each other that day – and we had to be at that stage. Sometimes you have to do that in football when results don’t go your way.
“You need to look at yourself and dust yourself down and stick together and push on,” said Harry Kane.
Spurs lie in 7th place with 20 points, whereas Chelsea are six points clear at the top after being held to a goalless draw at Sunderland.