Jose Mourinho was purring like a cat that had devoured the leftovers from Christmas dinner but it did not stop him showing his professional claws after his Chelsea side eased past West Ham United 2-0 on Friday.
Not content with basking in the glow of one of Chelsea’s best 90-minute performances of the season, the single-minded Portuguese coach ordered his players to do two light training session in 24 hours to prepare for Sunday’s trip to Southampton.
“I had two training sessions planned for tomorrow but my players are crying so much in the dressing room that I decided to make a change,” Mourinho joked to reporters after his team remained three points clear at the top of the Premier League.
“They are training now and tomorrow they will have only one session.”
The crammed festive programme means Chelsea are in the middle of a run of five fixtures in 14 days and Mourinho acknowledged it was a tough schedule for every team in the league.
“My players are human, Southampton’s are human, so it will be very difficult for us, very difficult for them, very difficult for West Ham against Arsenal on Sunday, very difficult for everybody but we have to do it,” he added.
“But before this match I had the same feeling I always have on a Boxing Day, I was so proud. We get the salaries we get because people are in love with the game so if people want football we must give them football and I’m so happy to do it.”
Chelsea dominated from start to finish against West Ham and it was only an inspired goalkeeping performance from Adrian that kept the scoreline respectable for the visitors.
Captain John Terry was on target in the first half with his second goal in five days, tapping the ball in from close range after a towering Diego Costa header from a corner.
Costa made the points safe when he latched on to a pass from livewire winger Eden Hazard and planted a left-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net for his 13th league goal of the season.
Chelsea went close to winning the title last term but Mourinho believes this season’s vintage is a vastly improved side.
“We are a much better team when we have the ball,” he said. “Last year we were very strong defensively and very well organised but we lacked a bit of creativity when we had the ball.”