Chelsea, of course, are in great shape. The victory for them would make seven in a row.
Much, then, for both sides to fear? No, said Mourinho. Fear is not a word he recognizes.
“You’ll have to ask Frank if they fear us or not,” he said. “But I don’t think fear is the right word here. We fear no one. ”
Without fear. But certainly, respect.
“We respect their potential and I think they respect our potential. Honestly, I don’t think they believe they are going to play an easy opponent, ”Mourinho said.
“I would love for them to feel that way, but I don’t think they do. Frank is a man with a lot of football experience and I think they know that we are a tough team who are able to go out there and win. ”
‘We can’t make the mad deal’
Spurs are two points above Chelsea in the title race, although Mourinho spent around £ 160million less than Lampard in the summer transfer window.
Mourinho knows all too well the purchasing power of Roman Abramovich, who will mark his 1,000 game on Sunday as Chelsea owner.
“We don’t have the conditions, like some clubs, to make the market crazy,” he said.
Mourinho said when asked to compare the two clubs’ summer spending.
“We have to do the right market, and we did. We have improved the potential of the team, ”he added.
So the potential has improved, but by how much? Potential champions perhaps?
Mourinho is shy.
“If the potential is higher, the expectations are higher. But we are not focused on the table. The table is something that we will be looking at when the season is over, ”he said.
If history is any guide, Spurs fans might well enjoy watching the table at the end of the season.
Mourinho won the league in his second season at every club he runs except Manchester United. They only managed the finalists.
Despite this impressive record, Mourinho calls for caution.
“I hope the fans see us as a work in progress,” he said. “Others normally take years and years to achieve something. I don’t think it’s fair that our expectations exceed reality. ”
‘We are confident – the spirit is positive’
Mourinho is however ready to admit that seeing Tottenham at the top of the league, ahead of Liverpool’s draw with Brighton on Saturday, has boosted his players’ confidence.
“We are confident because we work hard, but of course good results make you feel a lot better and give you more confidence to play better,” he said.
Confidence is high, as is team spirit. Jose has a happy group.
“The spirit is positive,” he says. “The players have a great relationship between them, me and my staff. We try to be their bosses but at the same time integrate this spirit. ”
Sunday’s game will take place in an empty stadium, of course. But next weekend’s North London derby will be the first in front of fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since March.
Two thousand is a small start, says Mourinho, but still very welcome.
“It will be good, even for the away team. Even the away team will feel motivated, ”he said.
“Two thousand fans in a stadium of 60,000 means the stadium will be almost empty, but 2,000 better than zero. It will be a good time for anyone who loves football. ”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has questioned the fairness of the announcement.
“I don’t understand why we’re going to have 2,000 people in a 60,000 stadium and 2,000 people in a 9,000 stadium,” Klopp asked a few days ago.
But Mourinho does not agree with him even though, Spurs will play at Selhurst Park in a fortnight, which will be almost a tenth of Palace fans.
“It is what it is,” he said.
“I don’t think this is the time to moan or complain about the situation. Just be happy with a little development. Ten is better than zero, so let’s accept the situation. ”
Pitch to Post Preview: Are Chelsea and Spurs claiming the title ?; Plus Man Utd ‘leader’ Bruno Fernandes, Arsenal’s creativity issues, and more!
This week on Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Peter Smith is joined by Michael Bridge and Charlotte Marsh To anticipate a successful London derby between title hopefuls Chelsea and Tottenham, James Cooper explains how Bruno Fernandes became the leader of Man Utd and we analyze Arsenal’s creativity issues.
Plus, Tim Thornton has the latest from Leeds and Sheffield United – including the story of how the Blades almost signed Diego Maradona! Charlotte then makes her daring Pitch for what she thinks is going on in this weekend’s Premier League action …
Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to post a podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox
Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham, live on Sky Sports Premier League and the Main Event on Sunday; kick off 4.30 p.m.