Chelsea 1 Manchester City 1: Sinner Diego Costa 'will like the attention', says Branislav Ivanovic

Striker's ban for stamping adds to the 'siege mentality' built by Mourinho

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The Independent Online

Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic said after his side maintained their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League that Diego Costa will like the attention he has received after putting a boot on Liverpool players earned him a three-match ban.

“Diego likes attention,” Ivanovic said of his Brazilian-born team-mate, whose suspension infuriated Chelsea’s manager, Jose Mourinho. “He likes for people to speak about him. This makes him a better player. This is his way to play. For me there is nothing wrong with that.”

Offering an insight into Mourinho’s motives for putting himself at war with the world, the Serb also said the siege mentality the manager is so clearly trying to manufacture is helping to motivate the side.

Mourinho raged against Sky, match officials, and even briefly seemed unhappy with his own supporters’ response to a Gary Cahill error in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City, after which he refused to give a press conference. Ivanovic said: “I think this [siege mentality] is part of the mentality to win. You need to motivate yourself. To go over the limit. Even if you don’t think someone is against you, you have to find motivation. It is important in winning matches to find extra motivation inside yourself.

“Sometimes we need to feel this extra pressure. It’s very difficult to judge. We know our game, the way we play, our style to fight, to give everything every single game, so this is a positive side. We are living in the moment.”

The City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, suggested his team may need 90 points – four more than last season – to retain their Premier League title. Pellegrini, who said there was no injury concern about substituted Sergio Aguero, observed that Mourinho’s team had finished the first half of the season with 45 points. Of the possible necessity for 90 points to be crowned champions, he said: “That can be. We don’t know. We can’t know what will happen…”

 

Pellegrini repeated the assertion he made after the 1-1 draw at the Etihad in September that City are the creative side of the two challenging for the title – though without comparing Mourinho’s to Stoke City, as he did then. “Both teams have a clear style of play,” he said. “We tried to create space against the team that tried to defend space near their own box.”

He also said that City’s title last season had nothing to do with Chelsea winning at Anfield in April. “I like [our] style,” he said. “That’s why we deserved the title last year – not just because [Steven] Gerrard slipped in one ball [against Chelsea]. It was not just one point. We were two points clear of Liverpool because we were the best team of the year.”

Frank Lampard, now of City, rejected the idea that his team has more title winners than Chelsea these days. “Is that right?” he said. “I think it’s close. They are a very, very experienced team. I’ve just been in the [Chelsea] dressing room and you have got John [Terry], Didier [Drogba] and Petr [Cech] – you can go on – and you have got young, hungry players who want to win it. It’s the same as our dressing room.”

Lampard confirmed that he and Mourinho had texted each other at Christmas following the former Chelsea midfielder’s decision to sign for City. “Yes, I did [text him],” Lampard said. “I got a text at Christmas. I texted him back. We spoke there in the dressing room: ‘How’s the family?’ The usual. We are grown men.

“As you get a bit older you understand that as a professional it’s your job and you move on, and I’m sure we’re both big enough that none of that is going to get in the way of our relationship and how we are personally.”

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