Mourinho backs Chelsea to make amends for first defeat
LONDON - Jose Mourinho expects Chelsea to make amends for their first defeat of the season when the Premier League leaders host Hull on Saturday.
Mourinho's side saw their 23-match unbeaten run in all competitions come to a surprise end with a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle last weekend.
The loss allowed second placed Manchester City to close within three points of the Blues.
But Chelsea quickly got back to winning ways against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League in midweek and Mourinho is confident his players will maintain their recovery by seeing off struggling Hull at Stamford Bridge.
"The response is to play well and to try to win every game. It's what we are doing since the beginning of the season," Mourinho said.
"Playing very, very well. Not one single bad performance, good spirit, good individual performances.
"You cannot be better than first in the Premier League, top of the league in the group phase and quarter-final of League Cup."
On Sunday, Manchester United will relish the opportunity to inflict more pain on wounded foes Liverpool when the teams renew their heated rivalry at Old Trafford.
Liverpool won both league fixtures against United last season, triumphing 3-0 on their last visit in March, en route to finishing 20 points clear of their cross-county rivals in the final standings.
But the tables have since turned and while United go into the weekend in pursuit of a sixth consecutive victory -- a run that has lifted Louis van Gaal's side to third place -- Liverpool's confidence is at a low.
Having made a dismal start to their league campaign, Liverpool's season nose-dived further on Tuesday when they were eliminated from the Champions League in the group phase following a 1-1 draw at home to Basel.
Memories of last season's thrilling title bid are fading fast at Anfield, but midfielder Joe Allen says his side will draw encouragement from their last performance at Old Trafford when they make their return on Sunday.
"We had a fantastic result there last season, so we'll be looking to draw some confidence and inspiration from that performance and we'll go there and try to get the win," Allen said.
"They are great games to play in between two clubs who are massive globally and there's a great rivalry between the clubs. These matches are great to be a part of.
"Last season it was a great feeling to go to Old Trafford and get the three points and all of the players want that feeling again."
While Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League in mid-week, Manchester City secured their place in the last 16 with a superb 2-0 victory away to Serie A title contenders Roma.
It followed a run of four straight league wins that has seen the champions reduce Chelsea's advantage ahead of Saturday's trip to bottom club Leicester.
City will learn the identity of their next Champions League opponents on Monday, but goalkeeper Joe Hart has urged his team-mates not to lose focus in their quest to topple Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
"We are confident we can do well against anyone, but it is Leicester now and we have to turn our eyes to that," said the England international. "That's our next big game."
Arsenal failed to claim top spot in their Champions League group despite winning 4-1 at Galatasaray, but the victory allowed them to draw a line beneath last weekend's dispiriting 3-2 loss at Stoke City.
Arsene Wenger's side have lost three of their last five league matches and midfielder Aaron Ramsey, whose side host in-form Newcastle on Saturday, says they must raise their game ahead of the hectic festive period.
"That is the thing we need to do now," said the Wales international, who scored two goals in Istanbul, including a stunning 30-yard strike with his weaker left foot.
"We have a busy couple of weeks coming up now and hopefully we can take full advantage of them, and hopefully take maximum points throughout December."
Manchester United v Liverpool (1330 GMT), Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur (1600 GMT)