How do you now assess the title race after the weekend’s results?
Mauricio: “It’s true we reduced the gap by three points but it’s still a big gap, seven points is a massive difference. For us, it’s about being focused and try to win games. Our challenge is to win the next game and step by step, game by game, that’s most important for us, try to improve on last season, we are improving and to be consistent. There is still a lot of work to do and there is still a big gap with Chelsea.”
Chelsea have a bit of pressure, how important is it in the next few games that you don’t falter and keep that pressure on?
Mauricio: “Chelsea won the Premier League two and a half years ago and 80 per cent of the players have experience of how to manage the pressure. They can win or lose but it won’t put pressure on them. It’s important for us to focus on Swansea now, like Burnley and try to get the three points. We are fighting to be in the top four and we need to keep our position, second and then we’ll see what happens. But our focus must be Swansea and forget what happens elsewhere. We have to stay focused and concentrate on our games and Swansea is most important now. It will be tough, they are battling for survival and we need to be ready.”
How much momentum do you feel you have?
Mauricio: “I think our momentum is good. We feel good, we trust in the way we play. After 29 games we are a real contended for the top four and that’s very good news for us. When we started the season, if you compare us with other top six teams, they made massive signings and we kept our philosophy and today, if we assess the season, I think it’s fantastic. The reality is we’re there, second in the table and now we must be focused and fight until the end.”
What’s it like playing in a league where three days ago, you were 10 points behind the leaders and within one week, if results go a certain way, you could be one point behind? A crazy scenario…
Mauricio: “Yes, crazy, but that is football and everything can happen. That’s a good lesson for all – belief is the most important thing in football, not only quality, but believe, have faith and fight. In football, nothing is impossible and that’s our idea and philosophy. We need to keep going in that direction. The Premier League is tough to play and win every game and compete, because it’s so competitive but it can happen, yes, of course. Our mind must be positive and try to imagine, dream and believe and give our best. We will be focused only on the next game, nothing around, we’re positive and we can get the three points. First we need to play, to be better than Swansea and be sure, we will need to fight a lot against them.”
What is the scenario on Harry Winks for the next couple of days as you assess the injury?
Mauricio: “We hope there is no big issue but it’s true it will be difficult for him to play again this season.”
Mauricio: “He twisted his ankle. Now we need to see what has happened in(side) his ankle, we need to see the scans.”
What lessons have you learned from last season?
Mauricio: “We’ve talked a lot about last season and in football, it’s important to learn from good and bad experiences. For me, it’s easy to explain, it’s about mentality, it’s about never giving up, it’s about being concentrated until the end. Last season wasn’t a problem with physical condition, it was about us switching off in our minds after Chelsea and we conceded the second place to Arsenal. That’s what happened. We need to learn and to fight until the end. Football is about mentality and the energy in your mind, not only in your body.”
What’s the latest on Danny Rose?
Mauricio: “It’s very positive and he continues his recovery. He’s in a good way.”
Are you positive he’ll be able to play again this season?
Mauricio: “This season? Yes, of course.”