Mourinho knows Newcastle will come at Chelsea to play the ‘game of their lives’

Jose Mourinho will have Diego Costa, second from left, available at St James’ Park. Darren Walsh / AP Photo
Jose Mourinho will have Diego Costa, second from left, available at St James’ Park. Darren Walsh / AP Photo
LONDON // Manager Jose Mourinho says Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United team reserve “the game of their lives” for when they face Chelsea.

Mourinho has not recorded a league victory at St James’ Park during two spells in charge of the west London club and suffered a 2-0 defeat when his side last visited in November 2013.

This time, Mourinho’s side will head to Newcastle riding high, with a six-point lead at the head of the Premier League table, having matched the club’s record 23-game unbeaten run with the midweek victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

“It’s difficult, a difficult stadium to play at,” Mourinho said. “There are a few stadiums in this country where, clearly, when they see the Chelsea shirts, they play the game of their lives.

“When they play against other teams, they look like they’re playing friendlies. Maybe this is because Chelsea, in the last decade, became a strong team that everybody wants to beat.”

Mourinho said he is unconcerned by the possibility his side could establish a new club record if they avoid defeat against Pardew’s men.

“They don’t know the record: I don’t think they know,” he said of the team. “If you don’t tell me 20 times, I wouldn’t know.

“I’m not looking for records. I’m looking for points. Victories and points. And, if possible, at the end of the season, titles.

“The only thing that matters for me in the Premier League is that I won the title twice. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Mourinho said Diego Costa will return to lead the attack after sitting out the clash with Tottenham while serving a one-match ban.

John Obi Mikel will come in for Nemanja Matic, who collected a fifth booking of the season earlier this week, but Mourinho is confident the loss of the Serbian will not be felt.

“It’s a big player for us who isn’t playing, but we trust other people,” Mourinho said.

“Matic has a bit of a holiday, a free weekend, which he deserves very much. He will be back stronger. Others play and we trust him.”

Costa’s return means Didier Drogba will be back on the bench, despite scoring his fourth goal of the season against Tottenham.

Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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