Jose Mourinho continues to downplay Chelsea’s chances of lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season, despite his team’s comprehensive 1-0 win at fellow title challenger Manchester City on Monday. The win kept Chelsea in third-place in the league standings with 53 points, level with second-place City, which has a superior goal differential, and two points behind leader Arsenal.
After the game, which marked the first time City failed to score at home in 62 league games, Mourinho described his team as “a little horse” in a three-horse title race. When asked whether Chelsea could become English champion for the first time in four years, the Portuguese said, "I don't agree. We lost points at home against West Brom, against West Ham, we lost at Stoke, we lost at Newcastle. We are a team in evolution but this is the kind of performance that helps the team to grow up a lot, tactically, mentally, I think it was fantastic.”
He added: "The next preseason, me and my players will say openly that we are mature, solid from day one and are candidates for the league. This season is about evolution." Mourinho described both Arsenal and City as more evolved teams, adding that Arsenal is now the favorite but City still has the best team. "We can [win the title] if they lose it,” he said of City, in particular.
Having said that, Mourinho praised his players for winning a game in which they were very much the better team. “Today we won because we were the best team. We defended very well, we were very compact, we deserved it. We love the big games. Obviously when you love it maybe you feel extra motivated for that and I keep saying, the best thing for the evolution of this team is not to play Europa League, not to be 15-20 points behind the leader but with pressure to be there, to be close to the leaders.”