Mourinho expects Magpies to raise game

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expects Newcastle’s players to play the “game of their lives” when the two sides meet at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Blues have won just four of their last 13 away league games against the Magpies and Mourinho, who has failed to win in three Premier League away games against the Toon Army, said: “It’s a difficult stadium to play in.

“There are a few stadiums where they see a Chelsea shirt and they make the game of their lives. And when they play against other teams they look like they are playing friendlies.

“Maybe this is because Chelsea, in the last decade, have become a strong team everybody wants to beat.”

Chelsea are six points clear of closest rivals Manchester City following the midweek win over Tottenham, while Newcastle – despite losing and drawing in their last two games – are in ninth thanks to a five-game league winning run in October and November.

Mourinho, whose big break came working under former Magpies manager Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, said going back to the north east – where Robson is so revered – had no special significance.

“I don’t need to go Newcastle and to see his pictures in the tunnel to remember such a friend,” Mourinho said.

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