By Mike Collett
Chelsea will take another big step towards the Premier League title if they win at relegation-threatened Leicester City on Wednesday (9.45pm) but boss Jose Mourinho expects their opponents to stay up whatever the result.
Leicester, who were bottom from the end of November until last week, have climbed out of the drop zone after winning their last four matches and Mourinho said this week he was surprised they were ever there in the first place.
“I was surprised with their bad position. For me they are a good team with good players. We played them very early in the season at Stamford Bridge, and I could immediately feel the quality of the team.
“I am not surprised they are out of the relegation zone. And I won’t be surprised when they stay in the division. I think they will survive.”
Chelsea’s immediate targets are very different from Leicester’s with Mourinho’s champions-elect team needing six points to guarantee winning the title while Leicester need as many as possible to avoid an immediate Championship return.
At the bottom, seven clubs are separated by nine points but Leicester are the in-form team and stand a point above the relegation places filled by Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley, with a game in hand over the latter two teams
Mourinho thinks that one player “who means a lot to me” will help Leicester beat the drop.
Argentine midfielder Esteban Cambiasso was in the Inter Milan team Mourinho led to the Champions League title in 2010, and the Portuguese coach praised his former player.
“Cambiasso was in my golden team at Inter so obviously he is one of the players who means a lot to me. He has been phenomenal for Leicester this season and I am very happy for him.
“I was not surprised he came to England. I know that he is an Inter man forever, but he is an open guy with the desire to try other experiences.
“Being such a bright guy and speaking English so well it did not surprise me that when he left Inter he came to England.
“For sure, next season he will play for Leicester in the Premier League.”