Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho accepts Liverpool form has produced a 'four-horse title race' despite Brendan Rodgers' 'chihuahua' claim
From big and little horses to chihuahuas, the Premier League title remains wide-open and Mourinho still maintains his league-leading side are not the favourites
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reiterated Brendan Rodgers’ belief that Liverpool were in the title race after admitting “it is a four-horse race now”, following the Northern Irishman’s claim that the Reds are the “chihuahua” of this seasons Premier League.
The mind-games between, Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini, Arsene Wenger and Rodgers continued on Thursday when Rodgers labelled his side as the “chihuahua that runs in between the horses’ legs”, speaking in relation to Mourinho’s earlier claim that both Manchester City and Arsenal are “big horses” in the title race compared to the “little horse” that is Chelsea.
Speaking at the UK launch of the new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé at Eastwinter Garden in Canary Wharf, Mourinho said: “I am sure it is a four-horse race now. They have a big advantage because they don’t play in the Champions League.”
Mourinho’s words came after Liverpool fought back twice to beat Fulham on Wednesday night, which saw them solidify their fourth-place and move them to just four points behind leaders Chelsea.
He then went on to continue his recent liking to compare the Premier League race to the animal kingdom, full of horses and dogs that appear to have a passion for playing football.
“If Brendan has a chihuahua it is one that trains a lot and rests a lot,” Mourinho said tongie-in-cheek. “The other dogs, they don’t train a lot because they play a lot and they don’t rest because they play every three days.
“And when the Barclays Premier League goes to the crucial point, we all will have to play Champions League at the same time.
“To play, for example, like we are going to do in Istanbul against Galatasaray on the Wednesday, Fulham on the Saturday.
“Brendan’s chihuahua doesn’t do that. During the week it sleeps, eats and trains a little bit. So I have to say his chihuahua is a privileged one. Next season he will see what it is like to play in two, three, four competitions. This season he has this privilege which gives him a big advantage.”
Mourinho and Rodgers’ relationship goes back to when the Portuguese appointed Rodgers as youth coach during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, and their friendship has withstood the test that Premier League football often poses over time.
“If we don’t win it I would prefer Brendan to win it because he is my friend,” said Mourinho. “When I play against my friend I want to win and he wants to win. But if I don’t win, I would like Brendan to do it.”
Moving on to Arsenal, Mourinho couldn’t resist taking a swipe at his long-time rivals, claiming that with their current squad available to Wenger, they should accept anything but the Premier League title as a failure.
“Arsenal have spent many, many years working together making these players grow up,” he said.
“Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs — they are not kids any more. They were kids but now they are mature players.
“The manager, with this group of players, four, five or six years working with these players and then adding fantastic players like Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla or Per Mertesacker, they are a very good team.”
Turning his attention to his own team, Mourinho said that while he believed his side defends well and attacks well, there is a reason why he maintains Chelsea are not the Premier League favourites.
“If you are talking about the team that looks really solid, the team that defends well but at the same time creates a lot — that is my team,” Mourinho accepted.
“But when I say we’re not the top candidate everyone thinks, ‘Here he is again’, with what you like to call the mind games. But it’s just my feeling.
“The matches I have lost were matches we should have won. They were the easy ones to win. The match against Everton was so easy to win but we couldn’t score a goal out of I don’t know how many chances. But we conceded and we lost.
“We went to Newcastle; it was so easy to win. In the first 30 minutes we hit the post, we had chances but we lost the game. We went to Stoke; it was so easy to win. Against West Ham we had 25 shots on goal.
“We are a team that if we had that last ‘click’, that click is to put the ball in the net, then I would say to you that we are favourites. Our team is going in a very good direction but at this moment I would not say we are favourites, but we are candidates.”
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