Speaking in an exclusive interview to BT in his living room just two hours after Chelsea won the Premier League title yesterday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho explained his feelings on how the Blues reached the title this season:
“I’m very happy, I’m very proud of the boys. It’s not the same Chelsea than before: new team people, new kids, people that never won the Premier League…we lost players like Lampard, Essien Cole…it was not easy, but I’m happy.
“Today we were comfortable but we felt that pressure, it was hard, harder than normal, and Crystal Palace was fantastic…I think this game in another country would finish 5-0, they didn’t need to get points, they’re in a safe situation, but they played like if they needed one point to survive…fantastic attitude.
“Sometimes I laugh when people compare numbers from different leagues, because I’ve been in all of them and people don’t know the difference, in Spain and Germany you can see many 5-0, 6-0…sometimes in Italy. Here most of the matches is about this…2-1, 1-0…it’s so competitive.
“We lost the derby at White Hart Lane in the beginning of January but since January not one single defeat, we know what we had to do with this. When the situation was getting harder, we lost players, for injuries, for suspensions, key players…we had a lot of problems, and to stay competitive and win matches you have to know how to win and this is an art.
“You have to have mental strength, empathy, cooperation between all of us…it worked.
“I always sleep well before games, maybe is after the game that I don’t sleep well. During the week I told the players ‘this a normal game, just one more game’ but they knew it wasn’t…If we didn’t win today will be tomorrow, but now we can breath in a different way, we can relax.
“I made the decision to be back, I was getting a special job for me, to be back at a club where I’ve already won before was a risk, expectations were high, if I did wrong people would ask me “why” and now I’m happy, I would never forget the reception I had the first game when I was back, with Hull City last year.
“With my family I try to separate things, the professional life and personal life, I try my mood not to influence the familiar life: they don’t read papers or watch the news but they read me and know when I’m happy or sad. Today all of them were there, usually just my son comes to the games, and it was special because I knew they were behind my bench and I could go to hug them at the end of the game, I couldn’t do that in other stadia like San Siro, Bernabéu, Dragão…
“I’m thinking about the next game, not next season: Crystal Palace gave us an example of what football is, now I gave the boys two days to relax but we have to be back and we have 3 more matches.
“[In the next games] I will give a chance to the boys that didn’t play very much, we got the crown from Manchester City hands- that are a fabulous team- now we have this responsibility, we are the champions.
“I say to my guys at the beginning of every season that here in England if u want to be in the top 4 you have to think about being champions, to be in the top 4 in England now is very hard, every year a big team stay out: Manchester United stayed out last season, and now Liverpool and them are struggling to be there and why not us next season, we have to be strong again, the Premier League is getting more difficult and more difficult but we’re going to try.
“John Terry is fantastic: the last season for him before I arrived he was in trouble because it seemed he was in the end of the career and maybe the manager didn’t trust him, last season was very good for him and this one was fantastic. Ivanovic and him got a fantastic spirit, and in the beginning of the season they told me they wanted to play all the Premier League games, and even tough they’re defenders, they did.
“Today Fabregas did a fantastic team talk, he said what I was thinking ‘we worked so hard to be in this position, we worked to hard to be here all together, when we go back in the dressing room we gotta be champions.
“I have to try to stay calm in the dugout, in the half time I told them what was going to happen, we have solutions for everything in this season, we did everything right, we have players with a fantastic spirit, I hope in this moment they’re enjoying it.
“I couldn’t talk to Roman [Abramovich] , I was doing a flash interview, I just stopped the interview one moment to hug him but I know him well and I know he’s happy.
“The first part of the season was a fantastic Chelsea, Fabregas was crucial, in the second part we had critical injuries and critical suspension, Diego Costa injured, Diego Costa suspended, Fabregas injured, Matic suspended…Diego and Matic suspensions were quite long: to go through all this was fantasti. I remember the game at QPR with Matic and Fabregas risking to get the 10th yellow card and having a suspension for two games, that would mean to skip Manchester United and Arsenal game, but they didn’t got it and they could play those games.
“We were ready to cope with everything, Zouma was ready to play whenever was needed, Cech – that is the second goalkeeper and that became the second goalkeeper without a reason, because he didn’t do anything special- played six matches and in these matches he gave us the title, Remy came in and gave us 3 points when needed, every player was crucial.
“It doesn’t bother me when people say we don’t play attractive football, it doesn’t change me because I’m stronger than that; normally the pundit with a higher voice is the one that comes from the pitch, so they’re stronger in opinions, because they know football better than others. People have to learn not to be influenced by negative comments, [there are] people asking head of a manager because he’s not champion, but only one can be champions.I understand [what people write] it is their job and the industry, but respect is respect and Chelsea deserved it.
“Our second goal of the season – Schürrle goal at Burnley with twenty passes and Fabregas vision insight the game – defined what Chelsea was for many months, Cech’s save on Lukaku head shot against Everton means everything, this kind of people to be crucial, to be there where the team needs to be.
“My players are like this for the way we work, we try to get everybody ready and fit if needed but we’re also lucky to have this kind of people, nobody can teach Cech to be the way he is, the same Zouma, Filipe Luis and the other guys that didn’t play very often.
“I have a long way to go, but sir Alex is an impossible position, I cannot win 13 Premier Leagues, 13 championships yes, now I am at 8…not 13 Premier Leagues.
“When I will go away from Chelsea? When I came back [ to Chelsea] I decided to come back, my family is happy here, when Abramovich tell me to go, I will go.“