Jose Mourinho exploded back on to the Premier League stage on Friday with a swipe at David Moyes before dismissing the quality of the last two Manchester title-winning teams.
Asked about Manchester United boss Moyes’ claims of a fixture conspiracy, he said: ‘If I say that I am in big trouble. So will you do the same with David? I was informed the fixtures were done by computer. Or is it the old-fashioned way with hot and cold balls? Unless the computer has a virus, I don’t know. I don’t care about the fixtures.’
It was as if the Special One had never been away as he then claimed the calibre of last season’s United team and the City side who finished top in 2012 were not up to standard.
The charismatic Portuguese has described himself as more mature on his return to English football, but when the adrenaline rushes, he is clearly ready for the battle to make Chelsea champions again. While claiming that his Chelsea side are one of six teams capable of winning the title, he insisted he is a better manager after spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, and that the standard of English football had fallen in his absence.
‘A few years ago the better teams were better,’ he said. ‘Do you think Manchester United won the Premier League last year because they were an unbelievable team? I don’t think so. The other contenders didn’t have a very good season.
Second rate: Mourinho belittled the title won by United in May (above) and City in 2012 (below)
‘It was the same the year before when Manchester City won the title. Were they an extraordinary team? I don’t think so. Others made so many mistakes that City eventually won.
‘In the past you had a fantastic Arsenal, champions without a single defeat. You had a Chelsea with a points record. You had a United side who won the title after our Double with an unbelievable season.
‘The champions in other seasons have been magnificent but, especially in the last two seasons, I’ve felt no. Sometimes you win because you are tremendous. Other times you win because you are the best. But you can be the best without being tremendous.’