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Chelsea boss rues chance to control destiny

Updated: 2014-03-10 07:11
By Agence France-Presse in London ( China Daily)

Chelsea boss rues chance to control destiny

Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o mocks manager Jose Mourinho's comment about his age by imitating an old man after scoring in Saturday's 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in London. Eddie Keogh / Reuters

Despite holding big lead, Mourinho would rather be in City's position

Jose Mourinho insists he would prefer to be in Manchester City's position in the Premier League title race despite his Chelsea squad moving seven points clear.

Chelsea's 4-0 victory over Tottenham took Mourinho's team to 66 points, while Liverpool and Arsenal are second with 59 points, having played one less game.

City is two points further back but has three games in hand on Chelsea and owns a superior goal difference, prompting Mourinho to claim the advantage in the battle to become champion lies with Manuel Pellegrini's team.

"I would like to be in their position. If they win the matches, they're top of the league," Mourinho said.

"If City wins the 12 matches they have, they're champions. They have their destiny in their own hands. I would prefer to have destiny in my own hands. It doesn't depend on us; it depends on them."

The Chelsea manager did concede his side has all but achieved its initial objective of guaranteeing a top four place after moving 13 points clear of Tottenham in fifth place.

"The top four is for us to lose. We are 13 points from Tottenham, and 15 from Man United and Everton," Mourinho said.

"This game could have reduced the gap to fifth to seven points, but at this moment it is 13 points and I really don't believe we'll lose that distance.

"So objective No 1, top four, is in our hands. Now let's go for objective No 2, top three with direct Champions League qualification."

Samuel Eto'o put Chelsea on its way with a goal in the 56th minute, which he followed with a celebration that poked fun at comments made by Mourinho about the striker's age.

The striker imitated an elderly person leaning on the corner flag and Mourinho said: "I didn't suggest (the celebration) but we knew it (was coming). We knew it. We thought it was more than fine.

"The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation, so it was good."

The celebration met with a flurry of approval on Twitter, with one picture quickly garnering more than 1,000 retweets.

Mourinho claimed to have enjoyed Eto'o's celebration, telling Sky Sports: "It was fantastic. We knew it, because he was preparing something.

"I think he's amazing. The way he coped with the situation in the last couple of weeks, I think he's fantastic. And today I told him before the game: 'You are going to score for sure.'"

In the broadcast by a French television channel, which showed Mourinho in conversation with a Swiss businessman during a commercial event in Switzerland, the Portuguese said: "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a striker. I have one (Eto'o), but he's 32. Maybe 35. Who knows?"

Mourinho subsequently rebuked the channel for showing the footage, claiming that it showed a "private conversation" not intended for public consumption.

Chelsea boss rues chance to control destiny

Younes Kaboul's foul on Eto'o earned the Tottenham defender a red card and allowed Eden Hazard to score from the penalty spot in the 59th minute.

Substitute Demba Ba capitalized on two late defensive mistakes to score twice in the final two minutes of normal time.

Eto'o was only included in the starting lineup because Fernando Torres susatined a groin injury during the warm-up.

"It was a big surprise for me because he was one of the few players who didn't go to the national team. Sometimes these things happen," said Mourinho.

"He felt something in his groin in the warm-up, and even a little thing like that and you're out for a couple of weeks. But the other two players scored goals today.

"That's why we always want three strikers in the squad. They scored.

"For strikers, a goal is always like a vitamin."

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood admitted his side's chances of crashing into the top four were now "slim".

"You can't legislate for the capitulation - you can't have that," said Sherwood.

"It was a lack of characters, too many of them too nice to each other.

"You need to show a bit more guts and not want to be someone's mate all the time. They need to drag it out of each other.

"It hurts me and I won't forget about this when we hit the motorway, but some might."