Ahead of Sunday lunch time's fixture against Tottenham at the London Stadium, the visitor's manager, Jose Mourinho, delivered his usual 'pearls of wisdom' for the Press, something he is really, really good at. However his latest snippet may have inadvertantly provided additional ammunition for just the sort of team talk David Moyes will be giving his players ahead of a game that could see Tottenham close up to within three points of West Ham, or see the Irons move a staggering NINE points ahead of their London rivals.
Here is a 'snippet' of the 'special one's' comments:
"They are doing very well. I believe that in the end of the season their position and our position, they are not going to be the same as where we are now,” he said. “But praise them for what they are doing. Good Premier League teams with one match per week are in an advantageous position compared to all the others, they have one week to prepare, one week to rest, less injuries and fatigue. It gives them a much better chance."
Leaving Harry Kane in the UK instead of taking him to a 'useless rubber' of a Europa League game, shows that Mourinho is taking the 'Sunday six pointer' very seriously. It should be remembered that Tottenham's season began to fall apart following the 3-3 draw between the two clubs at Tottenham's brand spanking new empty stadium, the manner of Hammers come back from 3-0 down with only 8 minutes left on the clock has become the stuff of 'mini legend', especially Manuel Lanzini's rocket of a goal with the last kick of the ball, which was his best moment since his terrible career ending injury sustained while on international duty with Argentina.
Observers and those in the know say, the fall out form that fateful game has been long and continuous, Mourinho's teams DON'T concede three goals in eight minutes ever generally. The Tottenham manager's game plan changed from that moment on, much to his team's detriment, if fans were in attendance, it would not be surprising to hear them voice their disapproval en masse.
Whether he intended it or not, because he does love his mind games, Mourinho's 'speech' will only serve as an inspiration to David Moyes and his team, and confirm the point everyone knew already which is that teams who have had more rest between games perform better more often than not, with some glaring exceptions. Villa were 'well rested' ahead of West Ham's third game in six days but were still beaten, so the extra rest is not a given for success, but it sure helps!
Having six days off between games is currently referred to as a 'luxury', and illustrates just how juxtaposed this unique season has become, 'Mona Rihno" is correct though, in that his team are still in all the competitions as they desperately try to win one of them. West Ham on the other hand have that old cliche of 'being able to concentrate on the league', with only fourteen games remaining at least the club controls it's own destiny, and all the osteopaths and physios can keep doing a roaring trade with all the Hammers fans who have acquired neck injuries from straining upwards to examine the current Barclays Premier League table.
It might not continue, but how refreshing it has been to NOT be in a relegation fight carrying a negative goal difference, nor being held to ransom by players who the club gave a platform to? - Ed