Jose Mourinho has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur are potential title challengers ahead of their clash with Chelsea on Sunday and refuses to rule out moves for Harry Kane and James Vardy. The Portuguese also denied that his Chelsea side have an advantage over Spurs, despite an extra two days’ rest due to their European commitments.
Spurs have been in exceptional form in the league of late and not lost since the opening day of the season, away to Manchester United. Mourinho spoke approvingly of their form, saying a title challenge is within the means of Mauricio Pochettino’s side:
“Look, when I watch them play, it’s not a surprise for me.
“The team is very good. The manager is very good. Players are good. Good stability, playing well, a very, very good team.”
Tottenham’s consistency has been in stark contrast to Chelsea’s, who are looking to claim a third successive win for just the second time this season. The champions’ troubles have led to much speculation over potential January signings to ease their issues. Although Mourinho again played down suggestions of business, he did not categorically rule out moves for Vardy or Spurs’ own star Kane, who had both been mentioned as targets this week:
“These stories start on 1 September when the market closed, and will be more and more ahead of the opening of the market in January.
“I know which players are possible, which players are impossible, but also what I told you: I will not ask for players to the board. I will try and do the best job I can and get the best results I can with the players we have.”
Mourinho added that Chelsea do not have an advantage over Spurs this weekend, despite the champions playing in Haifa in the Champions League against Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Tuesday, and Pochettino’s side only getting back from Baku for their Europa League 1-0 win over Qarabag at 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning.
“No,” Mourinho said when asked of the potential benefit of two extra days’ rest, highlighting his own side’s problems in playing a league game against Liverpool between the two legs of a Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid:
“So we played Sunday ahead of the second leg of the Champions League, the biggest competition in the world. So if that wasn’t a problem for Chelsea, why is it a problem now for Tottenham?
“That Champions League semifinal was at the end of the season when legs are a bit heavier than in November. It wasn’t a problem for us. It’s not a problem for them.”
Mourinho said John Terry has a chance of playing on Sunday, despite being stretchered off with an ankle injury in the 4-0 win over Maccabi.
“I don’t want to say that it’s impossible he plays, because maybe he plays and then you will say that I was hiding. I’m not hiding. Today he didn’t train, but we have a little hope that it’s possible.”
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