LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea will win the Premier League this season with the same players who are being criticised for going out of the Champions League to Paris St Germain, their manager Jose Mourinho promised on Friday.
The Portuguese said that adding the title to the team’s League Cup final victory this month would make it “a brilliant season”.
Chelsea could only draw 2-2 after extra time at home to the French champions on Wednesday despite playing against 10 men after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was controversially sent off. That meant they went out of the competition on away goals.
“The people that were out of the Champions League on Wednesday are the same people that won the League Cup and the same people that are going to win the Premier League,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“The future now is to try and win the PL and if we finish the season winning the PL and the League Cup, then that is a brilliant season.”
His team hold a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand ahead of Sunday’s match at home to Southampton.
Mourinho said he had discussed the Champions League failure with the players but refused to disclose what was said in a “good, interactive” meeting.
“We win together and we lose together,” he added.
“We have 11 matches to play, We have an advantage of five points with a match in hand. We cannot promise we will win every game but we are optimistic.”
Club captain John Terry echoed the theme of looking ahead when he told the club’s website: “We’ve got the Capital One Cup out of the way and now the Premier League is all we’ve got.
“It’s a massive one to go for, we’re a few points clear and we need to keep that gap. We can only do that by responding and picking up three points at the weekend.”
After widespread criticism of the way nine Chelsea players surrounded the referee to demand that Ibrahimovic was sent off, Terry claimed other teams did the same.
“Once they’re charging the referee, the only thing we can do is respond,” he said.
“If I have to run 20 or 30 yards it doesn’t look great but when you’re standing back and seeing five or six of their players surrounding the ref I have to go and support my team mates.”