Jose treads on shaky ground

LEICESTER. — Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists the English Premier League soccer title has not been secured just yet despite moving to within one victory of mathematically clinching it. The West Londoners ensured they would be crowned champions if they beat Crystal Palace at home on Sunday after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Leicester on Wednesday night.

Goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires ensured victory after Marc Albrighton had given Leicester a shock early lead on the stroke of half-time.

“I cannot touch the trophy, we still need two or three more points,” said Mourinho.

“We need three points to be completely safe.

“We all had in our mind we had to try and do it at Stamford Bridge. The momentum we had was that. We want to bring it to Stamford Bridge.

“But the fans can’t celebrate yet. They can only celebrate the League Cup. I hope they can play the match with us and push the team. That’s the spirit we have in the camp.

“They are not happy because they won the title. But they are happy they have won one more game.

“We have to be ready to play against Crystal Palace.”

Chelsea won four and drew one from their five games in April.

“I don’t think nerves will be a problem,” said Mourinho.

“It’s fantastic because this April was the month everyone was waiting for Chelsea to slip and lose points.

“We have been phenomenal this month, technically phenomenal with a team ethic, defended well and clinical.

“Tonight was not boring for me. To be losing at half-time is not boring — it is pressure. The way we played in the second half, against probably the best team we have played in the last month, was fantastic.

“In April everyone expected us to drop points against Arsenal and Man Utd, but April was the month that we destroyed opponents.

“I’m so happy, I just need three more points. We’ve worked hard and well. That’s the secret of every one of us.”

Mourinho opted to start Petr Cech in goal with Thibaut Courtois not 100 per cent fit and has not ruled out a return for Diego Costa on Sunday either despite his only playing 12 minutes in the whole of April.

“Costa has a chance for the weekend but we don’t need to risk players,” he added.

“If one goalkeeper is 98 per cent you play the one who is 100 per cent.”

On Wednesday night Chelsea took another step towards winning the English Premier League title as second half goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires helped them overturn a half-time deficit to win 3-1 at in-form Leicester City.

Mourinho’s side can now secure the crown if they beat Crystal Palace on Sunday after overcoming a scare against a side who looked far from relegation contenders on this evidence.

Leicester, who had won their previous four games, struck just before the break through Marc Albrighton and looked value for their lead until Chelsea raised their game in the second half.

Chelsea manager Mourinho admitted he had been far from happy with the first-half display, though, he had to restrain himself from revealing what he said to the players at the break.

“If I repeat on television what I said it will be ‘peep peep peep’. Too many peeps!” said the Portuguese.

Mourinho, who has regained some of his lustre since returning after a largely underwhelming spell with Real Madrid, said Palace would not be a walkover on Sunday.

“Stamford Bridge is ready to celebrate but if I can ask something from them it is to not celebrate,” said Mourinho.

“We all want to win on Sunday, but it will be a difficult game.”

His Leicester counterpart Nigel Pearson graciously said Chelsea would be worthy title winners and insisted his side would still avoid an immediate return to the second tier.

“There is a feeling we are capable and have given ourselves a better chance of avoiding relegation,” said Pearson.

“Tonight is a setback because when you go ahead you expect to push on but we came up against a side able to take advantage of their quality in second half.”

Leicester started well and Jamie Vardy headed straight at Cech from Albrighton’s cross before the former’s snapshot from 25 yards just missed the target.

Chelsea should have taken the lead though when Willian ran down the left and pulled the ball back for Drogba but his tame effort from 12 yards hit Marcin Wasilewski.

Leicester were dealt a blow when midfielder Andy King, on his 300th appearance for the club, was forced off with an early knock and replaced by Matty James.

The hosts shortly afterwards suffered another injury with Robert Huth coming off after an innocuous challenge at a corner with Ritchie De Laet coming on to necessitate a switch to a flat back four.

Those disruptions destroyed Leicester’s early rhythm and Chelsea came closer to the opener with Drogba firing wide on the turn.

Leicester might have taken the lead shortly afterwards as Albrighton’s shot was deflected onto the post right footed by Paul Konchesky prompting a mass goalmouth scramble involving Cambiasso and Albrighton.

But they took the lead in stoppage time as James fed Vardy down the left and Cesar Azpilicueta slipped on the wet surface for Albrighton to slot in his first goal for Leicester and first since 2012.

Chelsea though regrouped at half-time and were level within three minutes of the restart.

Branislav Ivanovic cut in down the right and crossed for Drogba to finish in cool fashion and it prompted an emotional celebration at his first goal of 2015.

Drogba could have had a second as he twice went close, the first time blazing over and then firing over from a good position.

James’ deflected shot raised the tempo for Leicester but it was Chelsea who came into the game late as the hosts tired.

Ramires’ deflected shot forced a 79th-minute Cesc Fabregas corner. Gary Cahill’s back header was superbly saved by Kasper Schmeichel but Terry reacted quickest to scramble home his seventh goal of the season.

The game was over as a contest four minutes later as Fabregas pull back was driven how with power by Ramires while visiting fans were ironically singing “boring, boring Chelsea”, mocking taunts from Arsenal supporters during the goalless draw on Sunday.

Leicester manager Pearson rued the loss of Andy King (hamstring) and Robert Huth (calf) to first half injuries and they are now expected to miss tomorrow’s home game with hapless Newcastle.

“Losing games is not something I’m particular pleased about,” said Pearson.

“It was difficult for us because we had to make substitutions because they were not something we would have looked to have done.

“Kingy doesn’t come off unless there is something wrong, Huth likewise. These are the type of players you want to have.

“They have to be doubts ahead of Saturday. It’s now Wednesday and we play Saturday, an early kick off. But possible omissions do not bring weakness to our squad.

“It’ll be nice to have the likes of Andrej Kramaric, Riyad Mahrez and Chris Wood to make three subs.

“I don’t want to bemoan what happens during games, players make decisions. Chelsea played very well in the second half. Their quality was apparent, our players gave everything.” — AFP.