Manchester United can win the Premier League title, insists Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

The current champions trail table toppers Arsenal by 12 points

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists the identity of Manchester United ensures they remain Barclays Premier League title contenders.

A 1-0 defeat by Everton on Wednesday night has seen David Moyes' side slip 12 points behind leaders Arsenal, but Mourinho believes they are still in contention.

The Portuguese, who has denied plotting a January move for unsettled Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, insists the philosophy at United enables Moyes to stay patient.

"If it was another club I'd tell you it's impossible, but with Manchester United I don't say that," Mourinho said.

"The reasons are because of the potential of the team, what the club represents and the culture of the club.

"It's not a club in panic. It's not a club where you feel the end of the world is arriving.

"They are calm, they go the same way and support the manager. Nobody touches the manager.

"They have a project. If they don't win this season they believe they will win next season.

"It's a very, very stable situation and an example to many others. Because of that they are still a contender.

"They will stick together, they will fight and try to get 12 to 15 points in a row. Yes they are still a contender.

"They will wait for matches between Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham when others will lose points."

Arsenal head the Premier League by four points - Chelsea are second - but Mourinho refused to add his voice to the debate on whether they are capable of sustaining a title challenge.

"Arsenal lead and if they lead it's because they have more points than other people and because they are better and have made less mistakes," he said.

"If they are there it's because they deserve to be there. But the championship finishes in May. Let's see what happens then."

Chelsea travel to Stoke on Saturday to conclude a run of three Premier League matches in seven days, two of them away.

In contrast title rivals Arsenal face the same number of games but over nine days. Mourinho describes the discrepancy as a "big coincidence".

"This is like preparation for the Christmas period," he said.

"This week is a hard week because we start on a Sunday, not even on a Saturday, playing Southampton, but finish on a Saturday.

"For some clubs it's Saturday-Sunday when for us it's Sunday-Saturday.

"Once more when it comes to fixtures, we are always in trouble. It's a big coincidence.

"I don't like to give a day off to the players after a big game, but I'll have to give them the day off on Sunday.

"I don't think it's good for their body, but it's good for their heads.

"I like to give physiological recovery, but the mental point of view is more important. It's important they have a free Sunday to disconnect."

PA

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