Football

Published: Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 1:02:02 AM
Updated: Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 1:02:59 AM

Mourinho rails against schedule ahead of Fulham derby

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hit out at the Premier League schedule, saying his players have not had a chance to recover from their midweek Champions League match before playing Fulham on Saturday.

The Premier League leaders drew 1-1 with Galatasaray in Turkey on Wednesday but have not been able to train ahead of the west London derby against bottom club Fulham.

"We arrived back at 6am in the morning. Yesterday we didn't train and we didn't train today," Mourinho told reporters.

"We don't play Sunday which would be difficult, we play Saturday which makes it even more difficult.

"We all prefer to play game after game but we want to do it with conditions to recover and equal conditions for everyone," added Mourinho.

"These are questions that need answering. I'm nobody and my legs are fresh from the match. I didn't sleep a lot but my legs are fresh. For the players it is different."

Chelsea are a point clear of Arsenal at the Premier League summit but face a Fulham side who have had a full week to train and will be keen to impress new manager Felix Magath.

Magath, who has built a solid reputation in his native Germany for helping steer relegation threatened clubs to safety, drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion in his first game in charge last weekend.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says his team must show the same desire they had in last weekend's 1-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge when John Terry scored deep into injury time.

"It's the crunch time when you need to get a winning mentality, a ruthlessness that whether you play good or bad you get results," Lampard said on the club website (www.chelseafc.com).

"Against Everton we didn't play particularly well but we had that bit of desire that took us over the line and we can't lose that. If you sit off or relax for a game you'll lose at this stage of the season.

"If you look at Fulham they're fighting for their lives so if we're not at it they'll get a result," said Lampard.

"It's a local derby and the fact they're struggling might make it more difficult for us because they're so desperate for points. Maybe it would be better if they were in mid-table and cruising.

"What we need to do is prepare, we can't moan. We've got a fantastic, big squad, fit young players and we have to get ready and go again," said Lampard.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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