Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea are firmly on course to win the Premier League after extending their lead at the top to six points with a battling 3-2 victory at Hull.
The Blues, chasing their first English league crown since 2010, re-established their stranglehold on the title race thanks to Loic Remy’s late winner at the KC Stadium on Sunday.
And with Chelsea holding a game in hand on second placed Manchester City, Mourinho says they are now firm favourites to lift the trophy.
“The title race should be over,” Mourinho said. “The title race in normal conditions, Chelsea should have eight, 10, 12 points more than we have – title race over.
“But football is unpredictable and the reality is we have a six-point lead which is our best situation for the whole season.
“The maximum lead we had was eight but when we had eight we had more matches to go.
“In this moment we have a six-point lead, one match in hand, that can help us have a bigger distance with eight matches to go to our opponents.
“They (City) can make 24 points, if they can make 24 points for us it is a question of mathematics to see how much we need
“I’m pretty confident. I believe in my players, I believe that we can do it.”
Chelsea had to work for their win at Hull, despite making a flying start.
– Conservative and collective –
Goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa put Mourinho’s team two goals ahead in the first nine minutes, but struggling Hull showed admirable determination to draw level with two goals in quick succession from Ahmed Elmohamady and Abel Hernandez before half-time.
Substitute Remy scored the winning goal with 13 minutes left after replacing the injured Costa.
Costa has suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has bothered him since last season and is a doubt for Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ukraine on March 27.
“For Diego (the international break) is good, because imagine we play three matches in one week, that’s three matches he doesn’t play,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t think it will need an operation. Our doctor is against surgeries, against knives.
“We are all in favour of conservative work and collective work between medical department and fitness technical staff. This is the direction we believe.”
While Chelsea’s sights are on the Premier League title, Hull’s attention lies at the other end of the table.
They remain three points clear of the relegation zone after the six lowest teams in the league all suffered defeats over the weekend.
Despite Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United featuring in the Tigers’ run-in, boss Steve Bruce remains bullish about their survival prospects.
“I’m sure we’ve got enough and I’m convinced if we play like that we’re good enough to stay in this division,” Bruce said.
“We’re ready for the challenge. We’ve seen that over the last few weeks.
“We had an awful couple of months in winter time but just lately we’ve seen a bit of resilience come back into them.
“That’s as good a display from us for a long time.
“We gave Chelsea a hell of a run for their money and on another day it could have gone our way.”