Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists Premier League remains strong

English sides faltered in the Champions League this season

Jose Mourinho insists he is returning to a strong Barclays Premier League, despite the failure of English clubs in Europe's elite competition this season.

Chelsea ended Mourinho's six-year exile in Italy and Spain yesterday when they reappointed him manager and he will be officially unveiled at a press conference at Stamford Bridge next Monday.

While the Portuguese's first reign ended in acrimony after his relationship with owner Roman Abramovich soured, his arrival heralded the start of the most successful period in the club's history.

The summit of his achievements were Premier League crowns in 2005 and 2006, and his track record of domestic success - he has also won championships in Portugal, Italy and Spain - have raised expectations he will break the three-year duopoly of Manchester United and City.

But Mourinho believes that although no English team progressed to the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League for the first time since 1996, club football in this country remains highly competitive.

"The Champions League is a thermometer of world football and English football was out of the competition too early," he told Chelsea TV.

"People were speaking about the level of the Premier League going down compared with other countries, but I don't believe that. Sometimes things happen when there are no reasons.

"But the Premier League is still a fantastic competition and I believe five or six teams are very strong.

"When I was here before it was more about us, Man United and Arsenal and after that there was a gap to the other teams.

"Now you can put five or six teams in the same plan, aiming to reach the Champions League spots which is very difficult, with those with more ambition aiming to win the Premier League.

"The competition will be fantastic and I hope I can beat the other clubs."

Chelsea fans will expect Mourinho's return to be accompanied by a spending spree as Abramovich arms his manager with the funds to reclaim a title they last won in 2010 when Carlo Ancelotti was at the helm.

Forward reinforcements top the shopping list, with Andre Schurrle of Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City's Edin Dzeko and Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic reported to be on Mourinho's radar.

But the 50-year-old insists that drawing the best from his existing squad will be his most pressing concern and refuses to prioritise any silverware.

"We have to improve the team, but when I say improve the team people are already thinking about how many millions Chelsea will spend. When I say improve the team, I mean through work," he said,

"My work has to improve players and improve the team. If I don't do that I am not happy with myself.

"If after that we can improve the team by buying a couple of players it is fantastic, but I have to improve the team and the players with my work.

"The priority is to improve. In the last two years we have struggled in the Premier League.

"If Chelsea didn't win the Champions League then the club wouldn't have been in the competition this year. This year we had to fight until the last match to qualify.

"We must improve individually, improve collectively and improve the structure of the club around the football team, and try to win the next match.

"Which one is the next match? The Premier League? Let's go for the Premier League. If the next match is the FA Cup, let's go for the FA Cup.

"It's difficult for me to say something is the priority. The priority is to work hard, work professionally and make the team better."

The grey hair that now covers Mourinho's scalp was not evident during his first spell in west London between 2004 and 2007, but he insists his capacity for hard work remains intact.

"I don't need a holiday, instead I'm sorry we don't start training tomorrow," he said.

"Victory makes miracles - when you win you are never tired. Happiness is much stronger than tiredness. Players need holidays, I don't.

"When we start the players will meet someone with great motivation. In spite of my white hairs, which I didn't have in 2004, I'm still very strong at work."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks