Mourinho: Newcastle play game of their lives against us

Manager claims sides drastically raise their game when Chelsea visit

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho has claimed that sides like Newcastle United drastically raise their game when Chelsea visit and said their other matches “look like friendlies” by comparison.

The Portuguese manager today takes his league leaders to St James’ Park, which is one of just two stadiums he has never won at in the Premier League, along with Villa Park. When asked why that was, Mourinho delivered a line that had echoes of Sir Alex Ferguson’s infamous claim from 1996, that Leeds United had “cheated their manager” by delivering their best performances against Manchester United. The difference was Ferguson’s line came after the game, but Mourinho’s comment also appeared to be a barb at Sunderland, who lost 4-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday after their 0-0 draw against Chelsea last Saturday.

“Let’s try tomorrow,” Mourinho said. “It’s difficult, a difficult stadium to play at. There are a few stadiums in this country where, clearly, when they see the Chelsea shirts, they play the game of their lives. When they play against other teams they look like they’re playing friendlies. Maybe this is because Chelsea, in the last decade, became a strong team that everybody wants to beat.”

When asked what other teams he was referring to, Mourinho responded: “Watch matches on TV and make your own analysis... or disagree with me.”

He also stated that it was a compliment to his club, and that they should really have ended the poor record at Newcastle last season. Chelsea lost 2-0 at St James’ in November last year.

“It makes us feel how big we are,” Mourinho said. “For me, that’s not a problem. We played well [there last season] but missed so many chances. We lost other matches last season where we clearly did nothing to win: against Crystal Palace, we did nothing to win. Newcastle was not one of those matches.”