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Mourinho on Spurs draw: Hazard praise; Diego Costa not an issue; Best performance of season

Let's get the Diego Costa nonsense out of the way first.  Just as he has maintained since the start of the 'rift', Mourinho claims that there are no problems between him and the Chelsea striker.

"Physically Diego is fine. He is working well every day and his mood is positive. I was not expecting a player on the bench to be jumping and singing because he is not playing. Top players are not happy on the bench so his behaviour is normal and he was ready to play when we he went to warm up. I have a good relationship with him."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian

Mourinho also spoke of Diego's "privilege" of being the last big name player to spend a bit of time on the bench.  Hazard, Fabregas, Terry, Ivanovic, etc have all taken a turn, and now it was Costa's.  The manager says it was tactical, not personal, though it's easy to read between the lines.  Hopefully Diego is reading that, too, just as he had been told before Sunday's match to work on reading the game better.

"Diego is very privileged because he was the last one to be on the bench," said Mourinho, who had clashed very publicly with Costa on the touchline in Haifa last Tuesday."

"Everyone else has been left out: the captain, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, the vice-captain of England, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fàbregas, Pedro, Eden Hazard, the player of the season and Oscar. Everyone was on the bench and Diego was privileged because I kept him in the team for all these matches."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian

As far as the "bib incident" specifically, Mourinho also wasn't making a big deal out of it.  At least not in public.

"If he wants to hurt me, it's not with a bib. I have a good relationship with him, no problem. If he watched the game with some attention from the bench he will know what is needed from him."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian

While Chelsea did not manage to get a ball past Hugo Lloris — in no small part thanks to at least one tremendous save from the Tottenham goalkeeper — Mourinho was happy with his own tactical decisions, and even went as far as to call the 90 minutes the best "team performance", though obviously not the best result of the season.

"But I'm really happy with the decision because that was the best Chelsea team of the season. We have the team again, and we look to the future with a better spirit. The message to all my players, not just Diego, is that when we play as a team, and especially when we defend as a team, we are much better. If we play like that, it wouldn't be a surprise if we don't lose any of the next 10 matches."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Guardian

The manager singled out Eden Hazard for praise, which is always better than being singled out for criticism.  Mourinho may not agree with Eden about what his own best position may be, but there's no doubt that the manager wants to set him up for success and thus get the best out of him.

"It was Eden's best game of the season. He had a great volley with his weaker foot for the save of the match. His game was more complete, with the ball and without the ball, attacking people and attacking space. When we had to play some long balls, he was jumping and trying in the air against their two Belgian boys who are two metres tall. He did fantastically well for the team so even though not scoring, his appetite to be important in the game and enjoy the game was back today."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

Mourinho went on to credit both teams' defenses for the matching clean sheets and spoke of the enthusiasm with which we head into December.  May the month bear many gifts, indeed, and no coal in our stockings.

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