Jose Mourinho has named the four teams he believes can mount a title challenge this season – but ruled out a surprise shot at glory from his former sides Chelsea and Manchester United.
In a report based on the Portuguese’s Sky Sports punditry debut by Dailymail, he was questioned about who he believed could lift the coveted trophy in May.
And Mourinho even revealed he believed Manchester City’s substitutes would be more likely to triumph than the two giants he once managed – and that Tottenham could also be in with an outside chance.
“Four [teams can win the title]. Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Man City B team. The players that were not already involved, I think the [City] B team could fight for the title,”
“I think if one of the teams plays magnificent today, I don’t believe they are going to resist in the title race. I don’t see also Arsenal to resist to a title race. Last season was phenomenal but I think Tottenham has to join it.”
Former United full-back Gary Neville agreed with the 56-year-old tactician, and also wrote off the side he supports from mounting a title bid.
“I don’t see United winning the title. As a United fan, all I want them to do is to create a strategy and stick to it. David Moyes came in, Mata 5 ft 8, Fellaini 6 ft 4, then they sacked David Moyes, then LVG came in a lot of technical possession players to fit his model. Then they sacked him.
“Jose came in, signed Bailly, Ibrahimovic – very physical, gave him a new contract, then cut that path short. Then Solskjaer has come in with British players. Four different strategies. Don’t keep changing all the time. And the club have been doing that.”
Mourinho also explained that he believes both City and Liverpool will be strong enough to fend off the chasing pack, although he hopes that the two sides’ rivals can one day return to the top level.
“We would love United, Chelsea, and Arsenal to also be at that level,” Mourinho said. “It would be something incredible. Sometimes unpredictable things can happen. Who knows?
“But I think we all agree, we are speaking about a team that won everything in England, we are speaking about the European champion and the European runner-up. Then we are talking about United sixth, and playing Europa League and Arsenal fifth and Europa League too.”
The former Blues boss also thinks that Frank Lampard’s side will be able to negate the effects caused by the club’s transfer ban, but admitted that his first television appearance back in England wasn’t an easy one.
“If someone who could answer a transfer ban it’s Chelsea. They can get Zouma, Abraham. If that happens to another club it would be much more difficult to organise a difficult squad,” he said.
“So I hope that something great happens with them [Chelsea]. I come just for the game and just to learn and listen to their opinions. You have to say it’s not an easy debut for me.”