Jose: United blew their Sunday title chance

November 27, 2006

Jose Mourinho is convinced the Premiership title race remains wide open after Ricardo Carvalho's second-half goal salvaged a point for Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The draw kept the champions three points behind Manchester United, with prospective challengers Arsenal and Liverpool trailing a distant 10 and 11 points further behind, respectively.

But Chelsea boss Mourinho insists the big two must still be on their guard to avoid an improbable fightback from either the Gunners or Rafael Benitez's men in the second half of the season.

Mourinho said: 'You can think the Premiership will be a fight of two but I think it is too early to talk about that. Normally Arsenal are the big contenders with us and we have one more point over them.

'I think Arsenal can come up and fight with us. Liverpool have a fantastic home record so if they improve their away record then they can also come back.'

Mourinho was satisfied with the point, secured when his side improved after the break following Louis Saha's opener in a dominant first period for the home side.

He believes with this season's title race likely to go right down to the wire, Chelsea may have secured the psychological edge by preventing Sir Alex Ferguson's men moving six points clear.

Mourinho added: 'If I was in that (United's) position I would be very frustrated, because you are at home and you have a big chance to open the gap and don't, so I feel maybe they are frustrated with that.'

The former Porto boss also praised referee Howard Webb's handling of the high-profile and potentially volatile encounter, in which the major incident was Didier Drogba's apparent elbowing of Nemanja Vidic.

Mourinho said: 'My feeling is he had a good game which for a young referee is good, because a very bad game could push him down and a very bad game could push him up, so it is very good for him.

'I think the result is deserved because in the first half they were the best team and they scored, and in the second half Chelsea were best team.

'When the game had finished I exchanged quick words with Sir Alex and we agreed the result was very, very fair.

'What was wrong in the first half was maybe the mental aspect of the game and we were waiting for things to happen. We did not show a lot of ambition but it looks like a new game in the second half.'