ESPN FC Extra: Blues look to hammer West Ham
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed he will be cheering on title rivals Manchester City when they take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Wednesday as he has his sights set primarily on sealing a top four finish in the Premier League this season.
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Mourinho continues to insist his ambitions for this campaign are not focused on winning the title but rather on building a side that will be capable of competing with the best in the competition next season.
Few believe this serial trophy winner has such moderate ambitions for the final third of the season, but Mourinho has claimed he is hoping City will claim all three points at Tottenham.
“I prefer them [City] to win because they win and if we win, we open up gap to Tottenham,” said Mourinho ahead of his side’s home game against West Ham.
“If we have a gap of 10 to Tottenham, 12 to United, you have a safe spot in the Champions League. If you can have a safe spot by February and play the rest of the season without that pressure, it would be fantastic for us.
“That’s an objective I don’t want to fail. We cannot fail, because as a club we need that and as a team we need that too, because we want to play Champions League.
“As a team it’s very important for the evolution of the team, as a club it’s very important for financial reasons, for prestigious reasons.
“The top four, if possible the top three, is the big, big, big objective and it’s a difficult objective. If everybody is there, you go to the end of the season under big pressure, so for us it will be better for City to win. Next season I will be speaking differently.”
Mourinho went on to back Eden Hazard’s bold ambitions to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the top pedestal of world football in the coming years, as he believes his Belgian midfielder has the ability to achieve such lavish aims.
“If he wants to be a great, great player and arrive where Cristiano and Messi arrive, he has space to go because he’s 23,” added Mourinho. “It’s a great ambition for him. What I feel now with him is responsibility in every aspect.
“Against Man United I saw him make a fantastic tackle inside of our box, but at the same time against Stoke he was trying to kill the game, not waiting for things to happen but trying to make things happen. The kid is going in a fantastic direction.
“Now I say yes [he can reach that level] because his evolution is great. I think, because of the positions Cristiano and Messi played, they are also top goalscorer and the number of goals they score makes them even more special.
“Eden is a winger, a pure winger. Okay, we are giving him freedom to go to other areas, but he’s an attacking winger.”