In any other season, Chelsea's match against Leicester City wouldn't have as big of an impact as it may have in the Premier League. With Chelsea struggling to reproduce their title-winning form of last season and Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City taking the league by storm, standing in 1st place ahead of all others, it's hard to claim their form is simply a fluke.
José Mourinho, who was a bit dismissive of their achievements a few weeks ago, agrees with this sentiment.
"They deserve to be where they are, let's be honest. I said a couple of weeks ago I didn't believe they can be champions and maybe I have to think twice because it's one thing to be top in September after a beautiful start, another is to be top in December, that's a completely different story, so if they are there and get result after result, it's because they can win the title."
"It would be something magnificent, something to impress the football world but sometimes these things can happen, so why not? They are there because they are doing magnificently well, we are where we are because we are doing badly."
"We have the same potential as last season, the same manager, same players, so if we are where we are it's because we are underperforming. [Ranieri] is going to win the manager of the month award and he should win more than that, he should win manager of half-term."
"If you could give an award for the first six months of the competition everybody is miles away from him and every club is miles away from what Leicester are doing. I know the distance between them and Man United, Man City, Arsenal is only a few points but they are the ones who deserve all the respect and compliments, it's fantastic work."
Claudio Ranieri, the first of Abramovich's many managers back in 2003, said in an interview to Sky Sports that he expects the Blues to be back in the top four in no time. Our current manager ruled out that possibility last week, but has now changed his mind and feels the same about our chances, especially given how difficult it has been for top clubs to get into winning streaks this season.
"First of all, it's nice from him. Nobody has any doubt that he hasn't forgotten his time at Chelsea. Everyone who is at this club for a certain period of time likes the club very much and Ranieri is showing the nice feeling he has, but I also believe what he says."
"Before we lost three points against Bournemouth I was absolutely convinced about finishing fourth in the table and I was convinced about a great December for us. The reality is that some clubs are doing well and some others are not capable of doing what they are used to."
"It's not easy for the top clubs to win three, four, five or 10 matches in a row now, so who knows? If we can get a run of four or five consecutive victories, because none of the other clubs are doing that, maybe we have a chance to make up the distance and dream of finishing fourth. While mathematically it's possible we have to try."
As for the team's selection for the next game, Mourinho gave some good news with Chelsea having no injury issues whatsoever this week.
Jose Mourinho reports that he has no injuries in the squad going into the Leicester game. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) 11. Dezember 2015
Over the course of the season, Chelsea's performances have been improving although we still recorded bad results against clubs such as AFC Bournemouth. Mourinho says the club always have a set-back whenever we look to be on the way of a good run, but he looks at the Porto match as a guide to our performances going further into the season.
"If you analyse things that way, I think you're right. We've had some good results - we could say this is the end of the bad period, but we're always having some negative result that bring us back to a position we are not very proud of."
"But I think the performance on Wednesday [against Porto], which was like a knockout match, I think the answer was so good that I don't see the reason for the players not to have the same kind of answer."
"I think we did well enough to have a different result [against Bournemouth]. We like to play at Stamford Bridge, the fans are being unbelievable. I even feel a bit, not knowing how to react, when the people sing my name, and 'stand up for the Special One'. I feel a bit embarrassed and don't know how to react... when you are Champions, you wave but now I don't know."
Compared to last year, Fàbregas' form has taken a huge dip. Being a player as reliant on team performance as he is, Mourinho claims he's at the same level of our squad, and that he's still showing the same commitment from the past despite his bad showings.
"I think [Fàbregas] the same as the team. Last season team was fantastic, so was he. He had a huge responsibility in the quality of our team last season and was fundamental in the team. This season, I think he's the same level of the team. It's difficult for a single player to play very well too."
"Normally player and team is an intimate relation. Every minute he's on the pitch, the commitment and professionalism is there. Always trying, never afraid to have the ball, to make a mistake. So I completely trust him."
To wrap it up, Mourinho said he looks forward to the team improving their overall performances, with the players maintaining the team's defensive stability and getting back to their goalscoring form.
"We need results. Doesn't matter which competition. We need to win matches, we need what we are having now regularly, which is lots of clean sheets, very few goals conceded. We need to score more goals. Even against Porto we could score 5. So we need to score goals [given the defensive stability]."
"I know you [journalists] will come back with Diego [Costa] and Hazard, not scoring goals but the way they played against Porto, they have to score goals. The goals are coming. In this moment I am less worried about that."
-José Mourinho; Source: Chelsea FC