Manchester United vs Chelsea: Chelsea challenged to improve on 2005 vintage

The Blues remain unbeaten as they head to Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho has set a challenge for Chelsea: to prove they are better than the team of 2005 and 2006, by winning more trophies. His side play at Manchester United following seven wins in eight League games and, although Mourinho says replicating Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003-04 season is “impossible”, he does think Chelsea “can be better” than the record-breaking team of 10 years ago.

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“Last time, we won a lot,” said Mourinho. “I don’t like to compare because it’s not good for a team that won nothing to be compared with a team that won everything but, at the same time, I have also to be honest and say that this team is showing great quality in its football. If we manage to also win titles, it can be better, but let’s see.”

Chelsea set the Premier League record for points-per-game, claiming 95 in 2004-05 and 91 in the next campaign, but the current side are seen as more entertaining and free-scoring.

“I know fans have tastes and they prefer one style and they don’t like so much another one but I think it’s difficult to say that Chelsea is not playing good football,” Mourinho said. “It’s important also for us as a group to have that feeling that we are getting results but, at the same time, are playing well.” The Chelsea manager puts much of that down to the midfield partnership of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, which is the type of combination United are so badly missing at present. Mourinho believes the duo appearing together so often has made them better players."

He continued: “I think they start together in the eight Premier League matches and the three Champions’ League matches,” he said. “There are teams and players that don’t do that during the whole season because people change a lot and players don’t have this situation of the chance to improve together. They understand each other very, very well and people sometimes can look to a physical guy like Matic and think he is a physical player. He is very technical. He plays fantastic football. He thinks very quick.

“We are trying to play a football adapted to the qualities of our players and this is something that people sometimes don’t understand. If you are a team that has players who are killer in counter-attack, you have to play that style. If you have players that are very strong with a low block and direct football, you have to play that style. If you have people like Eden [Hazard], Oscar and Fabregas, this kind of player, you need to control the game by having the ball and by using their intelligence and creativity.”

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