Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not convinced his side will have an advantage over Tottenham at White Hart Lane this weekend as a result of the hosts’ Europa League exertions in midweek.
A strong Spurs side claimed a 1-0 win in Baku courtesy of Harry Kane’s late header to ensure progression from Group J on Thursday and will face a tough task to recover in time for Sunday’s London derby with the Premier League champions.
The 4,000-mile trip to Baku was Spurs’ longest journey for a competitive fixture but Mourinho had limited sympathy for Pochettino’s men.
“Whenever we play in the Champions League, we play against teams who don’t have European commitments,” said Mourinho, who still has doubts over John Terry (ankle) and Ramires (muscle).
“Between the Atletico [Madrid] semi-finals [in the Champions League] a year ago, we had to play Liverpool.
“This week we played. When you play Saturday then Thursday [like Spurs], you have a longer time to recover.
“When you play Saturday, Tuesday [like Chelsea] you are already in overload. This story [that Tottenham will be tired] doesn’t convince me.
“If this country decided that it wasn’t a problem for Chelsea, it’s not a problem for Tottenham.
“In Germany, Italy, Portugal, there is a solution for everyone. There are rules for everyone. So here, I think it’s the same for everyone.”
After a difficult start to their Premier League defence, Chelsea go into Sunday’s clash following back-to-back wins over Norwich City and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Asked whether Chelsea had turned a corner, Mourinho added: “No, Chelsea is a big club, big clubs have difficult moments and cope with them. They try to build to have good moments again.
“We have to play every match as if we are fighting for the title. The reality is that we need points.
“We are all focused on doing our job the best we can. The only thing we can do is try to get the maximum amount of points.
“Our only goal now is to try to get into position where we can smell the top end of the league.”