- Jose Mourinho says Manchester United are ‘stronger’ than Chelsea
- Blues host David Moyes’ struggling team in Premier League on Sunday
- Portuguese says Chelsea are not ‘desperate’ to win the title this season
- New signing Nemanja Matic will not start against United
- Kevin De Bruyne and Ryan Bertrand to leave club this January
Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United are still ‘stronger’ than Chelsea, despite his side’s nine-point lead over David Moyes’ struggling champions in the Barclays Premier League table.
Chelsea host United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with Mourinho’s return last summer having inspired the Blues to set up a title fight with Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
By contrast, Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and Moyes’ arrival as his replacement has seen Uited struggle and despite winning the league at a canter last season, United’s squad is widely considered paper-thin compared with Chelsea’s.
Not feeling Blue: Mourinho seemed in good spirits as he put his jacket on his chair
Theatrics: The Portuguese had plenty to say ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United on Sunday
But Mourinho was at pains to point out it is United who are still playing in defence of their crown, and also insisted their struggles this term are masking the overall strength of the team and club.
When asked at his press conference on Friday morning whether this was Chelsea’s biggest match of the season to date, Mourinho said: ‘Read the match programme. My notes. On Sunday read it.
‘We don’t play against a team who are 11 points behind (the leaders, Arsenal). We play against the champions. We play against Man United.
Leading the way: John Terry prepares for Sunday’s game with Manchester United
Doing the warm-up: Andre Schurrle and Eden Hazard wear hats and gloves during training
Eyes on the ball: Midfielder Frank Lampard trains at Chelsea’s training ground
‘The team that looks to be in the most difficult situation is the team that is stronger in that game.’
Mourinho also insisted that his side would struggle to keep pace in the title race with Manuel Pellegrini’s free-scoring City side, whose attacking strength has seen them net 99 goals already this season.
Neatly, Mourinho will be chasing his 100th win as a Premier League manager this Sunday.
‘I think if you look at the table Man City and Arsenal are the top two,’ he said.
Giving instructions: Mourinho wraps up during training at Chelsea’s Cobham base
New boy: Nemanja Matic (right) trains with Demba Ba and his new team-mates at Cobham on Thursday
Ready for the big one: Oscar and Ramires train ahead of the visit of Manchester United
Boys from Brazil: Willian is chased by compatriot Oscar during training
‘Man City’s ammunition makes it very difficult. The way this league is, I think the first objective is to secure top four.’
Mourinho also added that long-term stability was more important to Chelsea than instant success this season.
‘We are not desperate to win the title, we are building towards the future,’ he added.
‘But also we want to keep the stability, Chelsea’s DNA of winning. We want to find the transition of Chelsea in the last decade and the next decade.’
Chelsea made their first purchase of the January transfer window on Wednesday, snapping up Nemanja Matic from Benfica for £21million, just under three years after letting the midfielder join the Portuguese giants as a makeweight in the deal to buy David Luiz.
Scrappy: Chelsea ground out a goalless draw at Old Trafford earlier this season
Hoodoo: David Moyes (left) has never won in 12 visits to Chelsea and has never beaten a team of Mourinho’s
Up for the fight: John Terry and Co are right in the title race whereas United appear to have fallen behind
Matic trained for the first time with his new team-mates on Thursday but Mourinho revealed the Serb would not be part of his starting line-up against United and that he expects Matic may not make an impact in the Premier League until next season.
‘I’m sure he will have an impact,’ said Mourinho. ‘I’m happy he came now as it gives him the next five months to be with the team ahead of next season.
‘He will be part of the team we hope to build for many years. In terms of our future, his profile is perfect.’
Mourinho also revealed that he does not expect too many more signings this winter, while Kevin De Bruyne and Ryan Bertrand will leave for Wolfsburg and Aston Villa respectively.
‘I think it will be more about people leaving than coming in. We are happy with the squad we have. De Bruyne is close to leaving, we also decided that Bertrand can go on loan until the end of the season. He needs to play. He is going to Villa till the end of the season.
Source : Daily Mail