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Mourinho in combat mode

30 January 2015, 11:18

London - Scarred in different ways by their recent cup exploits, Chelsea and Manchester City face off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday for a pivotal match in the Premier League title race.

Both teams were dumped out of the FA Cup by lower-league opposition last weekend, but while Chelsea responded by beating Liverpool in the League Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, victory came at a price.

Diego Costa seems certain to miss City's visit after being charged for stamping on Liverpool's Emre Can, while Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis are both doubts for the game after picking up injuries.

Jose Mourinho's side can expect little sympathy from City, the defending champions, who will fall eight points off the pace if they lose.

But the Chelsea manager is already looking to turn the situation to his advantage, battening down the hatches and creating the kind of siege mentality that is his favoured modus operandi.

As well as Costa's charge, Mourinho was himself fined by the Football Association for alleging that there was a media-led "campaign" against his side following a spate of diving allegations.

The Portuguese hit out at the media again after Chelsea's 1-0 win over Liverpool and responded to news of the disciplinary action facing Costa by cancelling his scheduled press conference on Friday.

The side-show has helped to bury talk of last weekend's humiliating home defeat by third-tier Bradford City, who came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 in the FA Cup fourth round.

The extra-time win over Liverpool has left its mark on Mourinho's squad, but he believes the league leaders will not be encumbered by fatigue when they take to the pitch against City.

"The players are tired, but when you win, fatigue doesn't mean the same as when you lose," he said.

"We have a big game on Saturday, but I think the feeling of winning, being at Wembley, compensates a little bit the fans after the gift we gave them last weekend."


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