Jose Mourinho: Chelsea boss hails 'spirit and mentality' in win at Stoke

Jose Mourinho celebrates with Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas
Chelsea have lost just once in 26 games so far this season, scoring 62 goals

Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea's 2-0 win at Stoke, which secured top spot in the Premier League at Christmas, was worth "more than three points".

John Terry and Cesc Fabregas weighed in with the goals that moved Chelsea three points clear of Manchester City.

After suffering defeat at the Britannia Stadium last season, Mourinho was happy to get the job done this time.

"To win here they must be a really very good team with the capacity to adapt to Stoke's style of play," Mourinho said.

"These victories mean more than three points. To win and get three points, the players need the right spirit and mentality.

"Only with a great team performance is it possible to be successful against Stoke."

The one controversy of the match came when referee Neil Swarbrick elected only to caution Stoke defender Phil Bardsley for a full-blooded challenge on Eden Hazard.

John Terry, Thibaut Courtois and Gary Cahill
Chelsea have won the Premier League title on the three previous occasions they have been top at Christmas

Mourinho felt the tackle was worthy of a heavier punishment.

"At that time, I felt the tackle was a bad one but if it was a bad one it was the only one," he said.

"If the referee decided not to give a red and lost control of the game it is a problem but he kept control and we reacted well. At the end of the day it was a fair game, a typical English winter game."

Emerging victorious from a Monday night trip to the Potteries was the first step in a challenging festive programme for the league leaders.

In-form West Ham are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day ahead of trips to Southampton on 28 December and Tottenham on 1 January.

"Now we have to focus on the three matches we still have until the end of this period," Mourinho added.

"The three-point lead we have is a little advantage, it is a little pillow we have to protect us - we go home happy and pleased with what we did."

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