Football

Mourinho seeks perfection, looks to Costa

PHOTO: AFP

Jose Mourinho places no significance on Chelsea's double success over Manchester City last season as he continues to seek perfection.

Chelsea twice beat City in the Premier League - and lost 2-0 in the FA Cup - only to finish four points behind Manuel Pellegrini's men in the race for the title.

The Blues came unstuck against "lesser" opposition, but have begun the current campaign following a summer strengthening exercise with four wins from four games and sit five points clear of tonight's opponents.

Mourinho (above) said: "What happened last year and seasons before I don't think has a relation to this season. It's a completely different story.

"It doesn't matter the record we had last season against City. We respect them totally, because they deserve that respect, but at the same time we believe in us and we want to win.

"Can we go there and win like we did last season? Obviously we can, but can we lose? We also can. And I don't think statistics play a part in this.

"I want to win this game to get three points. I'm totally focused on three points and the Premier League 2015, (rather) than history."

Chelsea's momentum was checked by Schalke in midweek as the Blues began their Champions League Group G campaign with a 1-1 draw.

"We were always scoring three, four, five, six goals and in the last match we scored only one.

"We try to improve in every aspect. The perfect situation is to score a lot of goals and not concede. We have to chase that perfection."

Mourinho's drive for goals will depend largely on striker Diego Costa, who will be risked despite not being fully fit.

The Spain striker, who has scored seven times in four league matches, was a substitute in the draw with Schalke.

The £32 million ($66m) summer signing from Atletico Madrid is not ready to play more than one game a week, according to Mourinho, after a hamstring problem recurred while on international duty earlier this month.

Asked if Costa was so important to Chelsea that Mourinho had to pick him, the Blues boss said "yes" before answering in the affirmative when asked if it was a risk.

"Diego is not in the best condition, but he will start the game," said Mourinho.

"He plays this game, he cannot play against Bolton (in the League Cup next Wednesday). It's as simple as that. I know clearly that we have to try to protect him until he gets completely fit." - PA Sport.