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José Mourinho labels Manchester City ‘clear favorites’ to win Premier League

Dec 31, 2013, 10:44 PM EDT

Can Mourinho's Chelsea send a message out to the rest of the league? AP

Last week, it was Brendan Rodgers. This week, it’s Chelsea manager José Mourinho eager to label Manchester City as title favorites, and while that status is obvious to anybody who’s followed the first half of the Premier League season, it also marks another boisterous claim  in an active week for the Special One.

First there was his ‘like to cry’ gibe at Arsenal, the beginning of the Portuguese coach’s newfound crusade to promote the virtues of Englishness in soccer. Then it was his strange if slightly philosophical remarks about the Luis Suárez-Samuel Eto’o collision at the end of Sunday’s game. Now, the Chelsea manager is going to one of the common gags in the English managerial book, hoping to inflate expectations of the team he’s hoping to slow down.

From the Independent:

Asked whether he was up to his familiar tactic of deflecting attention from Chelsea and trying to heap the expectation and pressure upon a rival, Mourinho was dismissive. “You think I am? You think I’m capable of it? See the [City] squad, see the players, the number of goals, the strikers. Dzeko is the third striker of Man City. Dzeko. Pfff. Do you think I’m putting pressure on? Jovetic, is the fourth-choice striker. Pfff.”

This is the kind of jocularity England’s media missed while Mourinho was gone. Who else is good for a good “Pfff” in a quote, let alone two? What other manager, in the face of being asked about on their tactic to raising expectations, would double down on the whimsy?

But more so than his Arsenal and Suárez complaints, Mourinh0 latest missive may carry an element of truth. Manchester City may not win the Premier League, but right now, less than 12 hours before the league’s second half begins, they’re the clear favorites. While Mourinho’s persona forces people to assume he’s playing games, this game might reflect the league’s actual state of play. City is just that good, right now.

To Mourinho, City quality may keep any media tricks from having an effect:

Asked whether he thought City could feel the pressure of trying to win their second Premier League title in three seasons, he said: “I don’t think so. I think they know how good they are and I think they know they are the clear favourites. I don’t think they feel any pressure.”

Of course, it’s also possible these type of quotes create any pressure; rather, the idea that a few words can have such a profound effect may be little more than media narrative – something that portrays an importance that’s evident on the field.

If Manchester City don’t win the title, it will be because something we can’t currently foresee keeps them from it. Even if Mourinho, Rodgers, and every other manager in the Premier League simultaneously labeled them favorites, City aren’t going to be undone by some headlines and quotes.

  1. footballer4ever - Dec 31, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Mourihno likes to play mind games with their rivals and nothing he says is to be believed or let alone acknowledged.

  2. houkura1 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    After a game in which Mourinho clearly sent his team out to obstruct Liverpool and probably even were instructed to injure the heart of our midfield in the opening 2 minutes-I would rather you wrote an article about what an absolute cad Mourinho is and what a scourge on the game he actually is instead of this half-hearted applause of his ridiculous tactics. Jose Mourinho has lost the fire and focus that won him all those titles and now he’s just a bitter man with a pathetic win at all cost mentality. I used to appreciate him for his tactical nous but I’m left wishing he would just go away. Chelsea were better of with AVB than this jerk (and that says a lot!).

  3. footballer4ever - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    Mou has lost his “magic touch” and Real Madrid exposed his deficiencies, but it will be even worse to go to a Chelsea FC to find a comfortable/secure football club setting. He should have stuck it out at RM for better or worse, but guess RM reached the worst part with him.

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