ESPN FC: Kick-off approaches
Jose Mourinho has said he is looking forward to the "salt-and-pepper" unpredictability of his "natural habitat" and a very open title race, but claimed that strength of the Premier League is offset by a slightly lower quality among the top teams.
The returning Stamford Bridge manager offered a few of his typical lines in his season-opening press conference, as he laughed at Richard Scudamore’s statement that Mourinho will bring back some "stardust" to the league.
"If he's the boss and says that, maybe he's right," Mourinho said when asked about Scudamore’s comments. "Or I have to say he's right. But I don't know.
"I see myself as somebody who should be in this competition because it's my favourite one, and I can say that because I had experiences in other three countries so I'm in a good position to say it's my favourite competition and country to work [in]. So when I have this passion for this football country, I'm in my natural habitat and I want to be seen as someone who is not being British but is connected with this football country.
"I have to work for my club, but at the same time I'm working for English football and I want to give my best. I am now better than ever because experience helps us to be better.
"We are not like players, us managers, when age sometimes is a negative. But I want to be seen as someone who wants to give everything for his club. I look to improve my players and, obviously, give a contribution to my club to be better and better. Not thinking in just a selfish way, because I never do that, but to think long-term. To leave good conditions not just for tomorrow but for the long-term. We are a very young squad with young players. And I look forward to the salt and pepper of football.
"I love football. I love the salt and pepper, the unpredictability of every game, the result, of who is going to win, who is going to qualify for top four, who is going to be relegated... I love all that. So let's go for it full of joy. I hope every fan is the same.
"I go to Stamford Bridge, I go to my people. But, at the same time, I want to say to everyone around this country who goes to football every weekend at every stadium, I'm one of them. I'm not just a Blue. I'm one of them, someone who loves this football country. I try to give joy to everybody.”
Mourinho also said he agreed with the belief that as many as six teams could be involved in a title race, a view shared by his counterpart at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger.
“Maybe December or January you find somebody wasn't strong enough to be there fighting for the title," he said. "But at the beginning, I also think six teams are there.
“I believe [the league is] stronger because there is a bigger number of teams who can fight for the title. Probably stronger because there's more balance. But I think, a few years ago, the better teams were better.”