Jose Mourinho may have conceded defeat in Chelsea’s bid to retain the Barclays Premier League title after their miserable start to the season, but he has called on his players to play like champions.
The Blues have endured a woeful title defence, slipping to 15th place entering this weekend’s fixtures. They play at Tottenham on Sunday.
Successive wins for just a second time this season – against Norwich and Maccabi Tel Aviv – have restored some confidence, but the trip to White Hart Lane will be a test of the resurgence.
Mourinho believes a top-four finish and Champions League qualification is not beyond his team, but feels the title is, given the deficit Chelsea would need to overhaul to a number of teams.
“We have to play every match as if we are fighting for the title,” Mourinho said.
“But the reality is we need points, the same way we needed last season, when we were top of the table and almost champions and fighting to be champions.
“In this moment we are far from even the European positions. We have to play every game with ambition, with determination.
“Every point until the end of the season can make a difference. We lost so many points already that now we have to fight for every point even more.”
Mourinho has stated his happiness to continue with his current squad amid speculation of changes in January.
His focus until the turn of the year is on Chelsea finding momentum, continuing at a venue where they have one win in the last 10 visits and lost 5-3 on New Year’s Day in a performance which exposed frailties which are now familiar.
“We are in November and we are all focused on doing our job the best we can,” Mourinho added.
“We are not speaking about players, about buying, about spending. We are thinking about what we can do now.
“Now the only thing we can do until the last day in December is to try to get the maximum points possible – try to arrive at the end of December, half a season played, and try to be in a position where we can smell the top part of the league and (so) we can believe that in the second part of the season we will be able to reach the top positions.”