His team are in the midst of the worst run of Jose Mourinho's reign but the Chelsea manager insisted last night that he was "happy" despite drawing 0-0 with Aston Villa because Manchester United have failed to capitalise on the champions' poor form. Mourinho's team have closed the gap at the top of the Premiership to six points.
Despite a lacklustre performance from his side, Mourinho said that Manchester United, who drew with Newcastle on Monday, had thrown away their chances to exploit Chelsea's weaknesses over the last few weeks. "They haven't taken advantage of our bad form," Mourinho said. "It is difficult for us to take advantage of them the way they are living at the moment but they did not take their chance against us.
"When they drew [against Newcastle on Monday], that was good for us. The maximum we could be behind was seven points and we could go to four. It is six but that is good for us. [Last night] we played as a team. We were the best team and better than the opponents. We organised ourselves well defensively and did not make errors."
There were more injury problems for Mourinho when Khalid Boulahrouz hobbled out after 30 minutes with what his manager said was knee ligament problems that could rule him out for up to six weeks. But the Chelsea manager was in a bullish mood about what he saw as the failings of United over a Christmas period in which his side have dropped six points with draws against Reading, Fulham and now Villa. "What happened in the previous two years, when United had problems, we killed them at Christmas," Mourinho said. "We would take maximum points and they would take five points. Now they have lost points at West Ham and Newcastle and the gap could be bigger. We are looking forward to the second part of the season.
O'Neill said that he was "delighted" with his team's performance. It is now 10 games since Villa recorded a victory but O'Neill said that this result had given his side confidence. "We haven't won but it was against Chelsea and I have been delighted with the attitude of the players," he said. "They put their heart and soul into the game"
The Villa manager added: "I thought we played with a ferocious amount of determination. We had to try to match them as much as we possibly could and [my] players worked tirelessly and stuck [at] it right to the end. We are pleased we haven't got beaten. We have played better and lost games.
"Their centre-forward [Didier Drogba] is probably the finest in the world at this moment and we had some scary moments but the young players learned well."
When he was asked if any signings were imminent in the transfer window, O'Neill said: "We will be trying our best like every other club."Reuse content