Premier League title race turns sour as Jose Mourinho hits back at Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini over Chelsea spending

‘Chelsea have FFP in mind. Other clubs do not’ says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho last night accused Manuel Pellegrini of getting his sums wrong as the row between the two over Chelsea’s spending escalated.

Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, had said last week that Chelsea spent more than other teams – itself a response to Mourinho’s description of his Chelsea side as a “little horse” – and Mourinho insisted last night that the manager known as “the Engineer” had got his sums wrong.

“Pellegrini is a fantastic coach, and outside his football career, he’s an engineer by academic qualification,” Mourinho said yesterday, without much prompting. “I don’t think an engineer needs a calculator to know that Juan Mata’s fee of £37m and Kevin De Bruyne’s of £18m, that is £55m. Nemanja Matic cost £21m and Mohamed Salah was £11m. That’s £32m. And £55m minus £32m is £23m. So Chelsea, in this transfer window, generated £23m.”

Mourinho said that Pellegrini, with whom he has exchanged words before, must have known that he was wrong. “The message he wanted to pass out is that we are also big spenders like them, but that’s not true,” he said. “So instead of saying we’re the big spenders in the January market, it’s probably better to say we are the ones who made most money.

“I have no problems with Pellegrini. None at all. He’s doing his work. Obviously, he knows these numbers. Obviously, he knows that we had a big positive number in the transfer market. Obviously, he knows. But, obviously, he’s Man City’s manager and he’s doing his work and doing well.”

Mourinho insisted, not for the first time, that Chelsea were following Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules more rigorously than City, admitting that they had to pull out of planned moves for Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao last summer because of these restrictions. “It is easy to understand that this is working with Financial Fair Play, fair Financial Fair Play. There are no arguments against that. This is what we’re doing. Others aren’t doing the same. We are building a team for the next decade, if possible. They have a team to win now.”

Despite that, Chelsea are top of the league, and victory at West Bromwich Albion tonight – when they will have Fernando Torres available again after injury – would extend Chelsea’s lead over Arsenal and City. Mourinho remains resolutely long-term in his view, though, and even said it would be “not disappointing” if Chelsea were not to regain the title this season. “I would be disappointed if my team do not keep the evolution up in every aspect of the game,” he said. “Many things can happen. I would be disappointed if my team collapses. But if we keep this level, even if we lose points and matches and don’t win the league, I wouldn’t be disappointed.”

This long-term focus means that Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea feels different from his first, but he explained yesterday he enjoys these less immediate demands, of development and growth.

“People used to look at me as a guy who arrives at a club and attacks immediately the title. For me, this was a different profile of job: I was explained to about FFP, the style of football the team had to play, the young talented players we have here and on loan. Since day one, we are in the same direction.”

This direction is set by owner Roman Abramovich. “In this moment, I am not doing, we are doing,” Mourinho said. “It is not my philosophy, it is our philosophy. It’s not the way I want the team to play football. It’s the way we want them to play football. It’s a long-term project.”

This is a big task Mourinho has taken on – he described it as “even better and more enjoyable work” than heavy pre-FFP spending – and he admitted that he hopes this side will play more exciting football than his first Chelsea team, which won five trophies under him between 2004 and 2007, before going on to gain more after his departure.

“It’s not easy, because the other Chelsea team won a lot,” Mourinho said, when asked if this side might win more than that one. “The first objective is that this team, in terms of the quality and enthusiasm and flair of its game, is better than the previous team. The old team had qualities and personality, but the objective, because of the difference in profile, is that this team plays differently.”

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her