ESPN FC: Chelsea's grades vs. Man City
Jose Mourinho insisted Chelsea’s masseur delivered the teamtalk that inspired his side to a 1-0 win at Manchester City -- and claimed he didn’t understand a word of it.
The Chelsea manager was adamant Arsenal are the favourites in the title race and his team are the outsiders, despite ending City’s 100 percent home league record.
But while Mourinho’s tactics worked perfectly as Branislav Ivanovic scored the only goal of the game, his said the prematch message came from the Blues’ Scottish masseur Billy McCulloch and that he had not talked to his players after midday.
He said: “I didn’t speak. It was Billy the masseur that spoke to the team. He was screaming so much in Scottish I didn’t understand him. I am serious. But the players were clapping. It was Billy’s teamtalk. Billy was fantastic.”
While Chelsea are third in the Premier League, they are only two points behind Arsenal but Mourinho insisted his side are the underdogs and Arsene Wenger’s team are the likeliest winners. He added: “They are top of the league and they are the favourites.
"It's not our responsibility or objective to do that (win the league). Our objective is to build the team. Some managers, some clubs because of the nature their DNA they say two, three, five years. I want to start the next preseason in the summer and say this season we are going to win the league. This season I can't."
The Portuguese was asked if it is a three-horse title race but countered by insisting Arsenal and City are the thoroughbreds and his team are the novice. He replied: “Two horses and a little horse, a nice horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. A horse that next season can race.”
And while Chelsea have beaten City home and away, Mourinho is adamant Manuel Pellegrini has the strongest side. He added: “We beat them twice but they are the best team.”
Trying to downplay his team’s title chances, Mourinho added: “We lost points at home against West Brom, against West Ham, we lost at Stoke, we lost at Newcastle. We are a team in evolution but this is the kind of performance that helps the team to grow up a lot. Tactically, mentally, I think it was fantastic.”
For City boss Pellegrini, it was a frustrating match of missed chances. He said: "We had clear chances but didn't do it and they had two or three shots against the post. "It was a very close game to play against Chelsea without (Sergio) Aguero and Fernandinho.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.