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By ESPN Staff
Dec 10, 2006

Mourinho taunts Arsenal title ambitions

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed it is 'impossible' for Arsenal to claim the title and accused Arsene Wenger's side of not trying to win after today's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The champions retained their unbeaten home record in the Barclays Premiership since Mourinho took over in the summer of 2004 thanks only to Michael Essien's brilliant 35-yard equaliser six minutes from time after Mathieu Flamini's 78th-minute strike looked to have given Arsenal victory.

Mourinho admitted Arsenal had played better than his team in the first half - but suggested Wenger's men were more concerned with avoiding defeat than forcing their way back into the title race.

'If Arsenal win their game in hand, there will still be 15 points between them and [leaders] Manchester United, so I think it is impossible for them to be champions,' said Mourinho, whose side are eight points behind United with one game in hand.

'Arsenal had quality, organisation and control, but ambition to win? No. Only one team tried to win the game.

'It is a surprise for a big team to come to Stamford Bridge and be very happy just to get a point.

'We are disappointed, because we had so many chances, but if we beat Newcastle on Wednesday, we will be only five points behind United - so [the title race] is more than open.'

But Wenger, who was without first-team regulars Thierry Henry, Tomas Rosicky and Kolo Toure, defended his decision to use a 4-5-1 formation, with Emmanuel Adebayor the lone striker.

The Frenchman also insisted his club are still capable of clawing back Manchester United but admitted it would be difficult.

Wenger said: 'What does he want? Our defence today was very, very young, and there was a lot of pressure on them.

'It was difficult, and I felt they needed protection. We are frustrated, though, because we wanted to win the game.

'If you ask me whether I would prefer Manchester United to win the title, or Chelsea to win it, my answer is simple: I would prefer Arsenal to win it.

'It looks a bit difficult, and United will need to drop points, but we have a young side and it takes time to achieve consistency.'

Ashley Cole was booed throughout by the Arsenal fans in his first match against his former club since his acrimonious move to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

Mourinho was happy with Cole's display, but felt it had been hampered by the booking referee Alan Wiley gave him midway through the first half.

Mourinho continued: 'It was a good performance. When you get a yellow card so early, you are on edge and you have to control yourself. 'When Philippe Senderos fouled Didier Drogba in the first half, he was not booked, and that gave him the security he needed for the rest of the game.'

The second half also saw Drogba tussle with Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann after Drogba was denied a penalty when he fell under a challenge from Senderos.

Wenger added: 'I like Drogba, but I thought he was a bit theatrical today, and tried to referee the game.'