Too much fuss made over 4 points gained so far: Jose

LONDON • Chelsea's stuttering start to the defence of their title would be problematic in most other countries but not in the English Premier League, according to their manager Jose Mourinho.

"I don't understand why there are so many stories about it," he said of having drawn, lost and won the first three games of the season, leaving his side 10th in the Premier League.

"It's not normal that, in three matches, you have two penalties against you and play with 10 men twice. It's not what we want but four points is not a drama.

"We have to keep going, improving. We know we can improve and we will improve.

"We'll try and get a good result.

"When you are five points behind the leader in another league, that can be complicated. In the Premier League, it's not complicated."

NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL YET

It's not normal that, in three matches, you have two penalties against you and play with 10 men twice... but four points is not a drama.

JOSE MOURINHO Chelsea manager

Today, Chelsea will take on Crystal Palace for what will be Mourinho's 100th home game in the Premier League.

Only one of those matches ended in defeat - a 1-2 loss to Sunderland in April last year.

"I'm proud of the record but I don't think it has an influence on the future," said the Portuguese.

"I know it's not normal - 99 matches in the Premier League is not 99 matches in a small league.

"It's the most competitive league."

On Palace's last visit, in May, Chelsea clinched the league title with a 1-0 win.

Mourinho said Alan Pardew's side were even stronger this season and will be "top 10 for sure".

Chelsea must do without captain John Terry, who was sent off in the 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Mourinho refused to comment about transfer targets like John Stones of Everton and Chinese defender Zhang Linpeng of Guangzhou Evergrande.

"I have a good squad. If I get another player, good, but if I don't, I go with what we have," he said.

According to Chinese media, Chelsea have made an offer for Zhang - nicknamed "Zhangmos" in China in a nod to Real Madrid's stalwart defender Sergio Ramos.

"I'm very happy and very excited to finally have this formal invitation," the 26-year-old told Titan.

"I've worked hard and waited these five to six years for my dream of playing overseas, and finally have recognition from the English Premier League."

Technically proficient and solidly built, Zhang has been a key player in Guangzhou's success in China and their run to the 2013 Asian Champions League title.

Former Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi described Zhang, who has 44 caps for his country, as "the best Chinese footballer in the Chinese Super League".

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Too much fuss made over 4 points gained so far: Jose'. Print Edition | Subscribe