Mourinho hits back after Ferguson jibe

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourhino continued to make the noises Chelsea's supporters want to hear last night when he combined a promise to go all out for the Premiership title this season with a gentle dig at Sir Alex Ferguson.

Jose Mourhino continued to make the noises Chelsea's supporters want to hear last night when he combined a promise to go all out for the Premiership title this season with a gentle dig at Sir Alex Ferguson.

Chelsea's eloquent new manager responded to the claim two days ago by his Manchester United counterpart that he could not just buy the championship with a reminder of the result when his Porto team took on United in last season's Champions' League.

"I agree money doesn't buy points and victories," he said. "If you go back a few months Porto with 10 per cent of Man United's budget beat them. So he's absolutely correct. Money buys players but not a team."

Asked about the possibility of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Chelsea's only English title by winning another, Mourinho said: "It's really difficult, because people think we're spending money the others aren't spending. Arsenal have worked with their manager for seven years, Manchester United for 18 years and me for 18 days, so it's a big difficulty. But I've told the players we must fight every match to win these things."

He was speaking after the first training session ahead of tomorrow's opening Champions' World tour game here against the Scottish champions Celtic.

Ferguson, whose United team open their tour against Bayern Munich in Chicago on Sunday, said he may buy another left-back following Gabriel Heinze's Olympic call-up by Argentina.

The £6.9m recruit's debut will be delayed at least until September, and the United manager said at the team's training base in Philadelphia: "Here's a lad who may be denied an opportunity to get a career at Manchester United. When I start the season I may have another left-back because of this and he may never get a game. He may find it difficult to get in the team.

"We might not use him until November, which is absolutely ridiculous," added the United manager.

The struggle to establish "soccer" in the United States has been a tortuous one, often in need of outside help. After nine seasons of Major League Soccer - in which average attendances have remained static at about 16,000 - missionaries are still being summoned from Europe and South America, the difference being that in these days of multinational sponsorship, international fan bases and replica shirts as fashion items, there is more in it for them than merely spreading the gospel. Hence the arrival this week of nine high-profile clubs to play 11 matches against each other from one side of the country to the other.

The Champions' World tournament is not, in fact, a tournament at all - though it may be one next year - but a series of friendlies timed to suit preparations for the new European club season. British football, in the shape of Celtic, Chelsea, Liverpool and United.

Mourinho, who is waiting to see whether his newest signing, Tiago Mendes, is summoned into Portugal's Olympic squad, has already implied that these games are not the sort of preparation he would personally have chosen for a squad needing to assimilate new members and new methods.

However, arrangements were in place long before he was endorsed by the club's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, who saw the financial benefits to United when he was in charge of the purse strings there a year ago.

CHAMPIONS' WORLD SCHEDULE: Tomorrow: Chelsea v Celtic (Seattle); Sunday: Manchester Utd v Bayern Munich (Chicago); 26 Jul: Liverpool v Celtic (Hartford); 28 Jul: Manchester Utd v Celtic (Philadelphia); 29 Jul: Chelsea v Roma (Pittsburgh); 30 Jul: Liverpool v Porto (Toronto); 31 Jul: Celtic v Roma (Toronto), Manchester Utd v Milan (New Jersey); 1 Aug: Porto v Galatasaray (New Jersey); 2 Aug: Chelsea v Milan (Philadelphia); 3 Aug: Liverpool v Roma (New Jersey).

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