Bolton Wanderers 0 Chelsea 2: Mourinho Jnr cannot know how hard it is to party every year
Jose "Ze" Mourinho Jnr might just be the most unrealistic six-year-old football fan in the world. He is allowed to attend just one kind of football match - those in which his father collects a trophy and for the last three years, at Porto and Chelsea, he has been a guest at three consecutive league title celebrations. Over the last month, the only question from Jose Jnr, his father said this weekend, has been "When's the party?" For this six-year-old, it is taken for granted that his Dad ends every season with the league title.
The Chelsea manager could deliver that fourth consecutive title of his career, and Stamford Bridge's second in a row, by beating Everton today if Manchester United fail to win at Tottenham Hotspur. With Chelsea requiring only four points to seal the title, what is not in doubt is that they will be crowned champions some time between now and 7 May. As an individual achievement by Mourinho - even with his resources - it is a stupendous feat.
At Stamford Bridge today they will not care that victory over Bolton was not the dramatic affair of one year earlier that sealed the title. That time, Frank Lampard scored twice and most of the Chelsea squad climbed out on to the roof of their team coach to celebrate with the supporters who had waited in the Reebok Stadium forecourt. It was a priceless moment between the Chelsea fans and a club who have grown in status quicker than any other - one year on, victory felt like business as usual.
That expectation has become dangerous for Mourinho and in recent days he has tried to turn the mood that the Premiership title is the very least expected of him into an examination of the implications that Chelsea's success has for his rivals. He continues to be deferential to Sir Alex Ferguson the man, but scathing that any manager who lives by Mourinho's standards could go three years without a title. It means that the stakes next season could not be higher.
"I keep saying to the players, 'We have to do it, not wait for them [United]'," Mourinho said. "What happened [United's draw with Sunderland] helped but you cannot think about them. Maybe at this moment a lot of people are thinking, 'Maybe they get a draw against Tottenham so Chelsea only need two points to be champion,' but we cannot wait for that. I've always said, when people talk about the pressure, when you're in front you can control the destiny."
If last season's win at the Reebok Stadium was the classic that Lampard still remembers as the greatest occasion of his career, then Saturday was a more subdued affair. John Terry's headed goal just before half-time extinguished the little hope Bolton had nurtured in the first half, while Lampard crushed them with a goal before the hour after exchanging passes with Michael Essien and then Hernan Crespo.
It was the same end at which he had scored twice last season, and it took his season's total to 15, breaking Paul Scholes' record for a Premiership midfielder. "I was desperate to get that record but I want to get more goals now," Lampard said. "I want to reach 20 goals for the first time."
Before he left Lancashire, Lampard pledged a donation for Sam Allardyce's sponsored trek to Mount Everest's base camp this summer, although the Bolton manager might have appreciated a little more charity on the pitch. With Tal Ben Haim sent off for a second booking on 90 minutes, this was Bolton's fifth straight Premiership defeat, leaving them in eighth ahead of the visit to West Bromwich Albion today and in danger of missing out on the Uefa Cup.
"We feel it would be the most disappointing season we've had in the Premiership if we don't do it now," Allardyce said. "That's the standard we've got."
Goals: Terry (45) 0-1; Lampard (59) 0-2.
Bolton Wanderers (4-1-3-2): Jaaskelainen; Ben Haim, Faye, N'Gotty, Gardner; Campo; Vaz Te (Giannakopoulos, 45), Nolan, Speed (Nakata, 70); Borgetti (Pedersen, 45), Davies. Substitutes not used: Okocha, Walker (gk).
Chelsea (4-1-3-2): Cech; Geremi, Gallas, Terry, Del Horno; Makelele; Lampard, Essien, Cole (Ferreira, 82); Drogba (Huth, 86), Crespo (Robben, 60). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Wright-Phillips.
Booked: Bolton Ben Haim, Davies, Gardner; Chelsea Drogba, Huth, Makelele.
Sent off: Ben Haim (90).
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Man of the match: Lampard.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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