Jose Mourinho's Mind Games Reveal Fear of Manchester City Title Challenge

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Jose Mourinho's Mind Games Reveal Fear of Manchester City Title Challenge
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
"What, me worry?"

The Special One is actually The Scared One.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has a penchant for running his mouth and playing mind games with opposing managers. Much of Mourinho's yapping can be safely ignored.

This week, however, Mourinho's loose talk revealed how concerned he is with a Premier League rival despite Chelsea's present perch at second in the Premier League table.

And he was not talking about league-leading Arsenal.

"The team with more responsibilities to win it, because their squad is quite unique, is Manchester City," Mourinho recently opined, according to Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph.

Since this quote (like so many of Mourinho's through the years) was a bit vague, Mourinho was asked to elaborate. As usual, he was all too happy to oblige:

The quality and profile of the players, the experience of the players, and the medium age. They don't have old players or very young players. You see all of them, players with big maturity and experience. Aguero, Dzeko, Negredo, Jovetic, Toure, Fernandinho. Nobody more than 30. Nobody below 23.

Mourinho put the finishing flourish on his gushing praise of City's team by adding that "The squad is amazing. They have solutions and solutions and solutions...City are the team with more ammunition."

This verbal bouquet from the Chelsea boss was rightly interpreted by Wilson and others as Mourinho having intentionally "escalated the pressure on (City boss) Manuel Pellegrini."

But the real takeaway from Mourinho's words is this: Just because Mourinho is agitating and trying to ramp up the pressure on City does not mean what he said is not accurate.

Mourinho is absolutely right.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
But for this awful moment, City would be above Chelsea in the table.

City's goal difference of plus-26 through 14 Premier League matches is seven better than Arsenal's and 12 better than Chelsea's.

City are not just unbeaten at the Etihad—with a home goal difference of plus-27 in seven matches—City are positively terrifying there.

The only thing standing between City and the top of the table right now is their woeful road form, which has been well-documented.

But Mourinho surely realizes that a manager with Pellegrini's pedigree is not going to allow a loaded side like City to continue hemorrhaging points away to sides like Cardiff City and Sunderland.

And as the season wears on, the absurd squad depth that Mourinho referenced projects to give the Sky Blues an enormous advantage.

To a degree, it has already come to bear. City are third in the table despite long stretches of inactivity from Vincent Kompany and David Silva, not to mention the psychic implosion of keeper Joe Hart.

Chelsea have won three straight Premier League matches and have consecutive league dates with lower-tier sides (Stoke City and Crystal Palace) ahead of them before heading to the Emirates Dec. 23 for a tussle with Arsenal.

You might think, then, that Mourinho would concern himself with his team and the need to take six points from those two matches before taking on the Gunners.

Instead, Mourinho is rhapsodizing about City's stacked squad.

Mourinho might be trying to work his dark magic on City with his praise.

That still does not make what he said untrue.

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