Mourinho can't wait to get claws into Christmas

Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:55pm EST
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By Brian Homewood

BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is relishing the prospect of a Premier League Christmas, a period he said on Monday that only the brave could survive.

Mourinho, speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie at Basel, also made light of Tottenham Hotspur's 6-0 rout by Manchester City on Sunday.

The Portuguese said it was better than losing six games by a single goal and showed why the Premier League was the envy of La Liga and the Bundesliga.

Chelsea face nine matches in December and Mourinho is hoping the Group E leaders can ease the pressure by wrapping up qualification for the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday.

A draw at Basel, who are third in the table and trail the Londoners by four points, would do the trick with one match to spare and make the December game at home to Steaua Bucharest less important.

"It's a period where I think only the brave can survive because it's hard," Mourinho told reporters.

"At Christmas the accumulation of matches is so high. You must do it with a special group with a special mentality, enjoying the situation and forgeting you don't have a Christmas like the Spanish players, the Italian players, the German players.

"It's a period I like where I think the squad can play a role, not just the team," said Mourinho who is in his second spell with Chelsea.   Continued...

Newly reappointed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reacts during a news conference at Stamford Bridge stadium in London June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett