In Depth

Mourinho masterclass: horses, masseurs and Juan Mata's exit

The Chelsea boss has been inspired on and off the field and it helped the Blues overcome Man City

JOSE MOURINHO produced a masterclass at the Etihad, not just on the field but off it as well, as his Chelsea side stopped the Man City juggernaut dead, ending their 100 per cent home record in the league and as a result handing Arsenal the initiative in the title race. First he tailored his team perfectly to counter the attacking threat of City, who have laid other teams to waste of late. Then he gave a bravura press conference during which he likened his team to a "nice, little horse that still needs to learn to drink milk and jump" and credited his side's display to an incomprehensible team talk from Scottish masseur Billy McCulloch. He also claimed that Arsenal, the league leaders, were well ahead of his Chelsea side in terms of evolution and said that Liverpool could not be ruled out of the title race because they were not in the Champions League, and therefore have fewer games than their rivals in the coming weeks. However, the pundits are united in their belief that Chelsea now have a very real chance of winning the title. Mourinho on a three horse race: "Two horses and a little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. Two big horses and a nice horse. A horse that next season can race."

Mourinho on McCulloch's team talk: "It was Billy the masseur who spoke to the team. I am serious! He was screaming so much in his Scottish accent - going grrr, grrr, grrr. I didn't understand, but the players were clapping so they must have. The last time I spoke to them was at lunchtime. It was Billy's team talk" Matt Dickinson of The Times on Mourinho:"Jose Mourinho can protest all he likes about Chelsea being a 'little horse' compared with rival thoroughbreds, but their victory at the Etihad last night transformed the betting in one intense, compelling evening... In a league full of volatility, one certainty was that no manager on Planet Football prepares his team better for the critical matches, either tactically or temperamentally, than Mourinho." Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph on Chelsea's tactics:"Mourinho was back to his Inter Milan days, when the plan was to absorb pressure, compress the play and counter-attack with unanswerable speed and force. For the second time this season City’s penchant for open, orchestral play, was exposed as decadent." Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian on Juan Mata:"Watching Willian and, particularly, Eden Hazard, surging into space, creating angles for each other, always driving, it was easy to see why Mourinho felt Juan Mata had no place in his side: wonderful talent that he is, this is not Mata's type of football."

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