Jose Mourinho joked that Manchester City’s substitutes might be good enough to win the Premier League title this season as he ruled his former clubs Manchester United and Chelsea out of contention.
The Portuguese appeared on Sky Sports in the build-up to Sunday afternoon’s clash between United and Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Asked who can win the title, Mourinho said: “Four, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool and the Man City ‘B’ team.
“When I looked at the bench yesterday, the players not involved, I think even the ‘B’ team could fight for the title.”
Frank Lampard takes charge of Chelsea for the first time in the afternoon fixture, but Mourinho does not expect his former player to face the same pressures as several of his predecessors.
“In this moment, with the transfer ban, that releases the pressure,” he said. “They have a very good squad of course. I am very curious to see the direction Frank is going to go.
“Today, does (Olivier) Giroud or Tammy Abraham play? If Tammy Abraham plays and Chelsea doesn’t win, people can go in the direction of the younger players, they need time, they are not playing to win the Premier League.
“You don’t buy players but you buy time.”
Though Mourinho said he did not believe United could win the title, it was vital the players did not share that view.
“The dressing room must feel they can win the title,” he said. “If they don’t feel it, they are in trouble, but I think to finish (in the) top four would be a good achievement.”
However, Mourinho, sacked in December by United, admitted he did not have that belief himself at the start of last season.
“When I said that second position the previous season was one of my biggest achievements in football I was not having fun with the words,” he said. “I just was just telling you what I was feeling.
“I didn’t feel last season we did enough in the transfer window to allow us to compete for the first position because though we finished second the distance to first was very considerable.
“So I don’t feel this season they can (win) but I hope they feel they can because that will be an important motivational push for them.”
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