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Jose Mourinho from invincible to invisible

WHERE'S JOSE: The Blues' boss has refrained from media duties following an FA charge (PA)

THE REMAINDER of January will be crucial in Chelsea's season, providing an acid test to see if the Blues' silverware push can last the distance on three domestic fronts.

Siting on top the Premier League table following last Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle United, Jose Mourinho's side have opened up a slim two-point gap over second placed Manchester City.

This weekend's (Jan 17) Premier League trip to Swansea will be seen as a must win game for Chelsea going into the first of their two legged League Cup semi-final against Liverpool three days later. Then it'll be the turn of the FA Cup fourth round at home to Bradford, before the League Cup semi-final second leg on January 27 at Stamford Bridge.

Let's not forget, Chelsea's Champions League campaign gets back underway in mid-February with their last 16 first-leg tie at Paris St Germain, as Mourinho bids to win Europe's top club competition for the third time and with a third different club.

Single-minded and as determined as ever, Mourinho will have all of the above in his sights. Once touted as the heirs of the Arsenal’s Invincibles, losses at Newcastle and the unexpected 5-3 mauling at Spurs, ruined any chance of Chelsea replicating the historic feat achieved by London rivals in 2003-04.


TEAM SPIRIT: Willian presses the flesh with Mourinho during their Christmas fixture against Stoke (PA)

And maybe the heat is being felt at Stamford Bridge. Following Mourinho's outburst of a campaign against the Blues, the Chelsea manager has refused to speak to the media until the FA's throwing the game into disrepute charge has been dealt with. From Invincible, to invisible, in matter of weeks, Mourinho the master of mind games will instill a siege mentality in his players, and perhaps with some justification.

Referee Anthony Taylor booked Cesc Fabregas for diving after going down in the box under Matt Targett's challenge in the 1-1 at Southampton on 28th December. The official later accepted that he had got that decision wrong, offering an apology to the west London club.

Having come through with their 100 per cent home record intact following the 2-0 win over Newcastle last Saturday, Mourinho knows his side were vulnerable in the opening exchanges. Remy Cabella and Moussa Sissoko had chances to give the visitors a lead, which their bright inventive football deserved. The former looked a player inspired with his touch and movement while Sissoko hit the corner of the woodwork from a narrowing angle, with Petr Cech beaten.

Resolute and at times riding their luck, quick Chelsea thinking and two unanswered goals from Oscar and Diego Costa earned the Blues the three points, leaving the visitors to reflect on their missed chances.

Blues assistant manager Steve Holland was left with post-match media duties, while Mourinho keeping his counsel private, not wanting to risk raising the FA’s ire.

Having finished third in the Premier League last season, Mourinho had consistently played down his side's title ambitions, considering them as outsiders. He was proven right as City won the title, with Liverpool as runners up while the Blues finished third, four points off City's top spot.

The next few weeks will provide several tests on all fronts for Chelsea, and by then we should not only have a better idea of the Blues' potential, but also Mourinho back to tell us all about it.

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