Manuel Pellegrini made an interesting statement recently.
"Remember we have important restrictions about the amount of players, the amount of money that we can spend, so it was a difficult year for us, for our team in that sense," the Manchester City boss told Sky Sports (h/t Goal).
His comments came on the back of another early elimination in the UEFA Champions League for the reigning Premier League champions.
Now as City sit in fourth place in the league, nine points behind Chelsea and with little chance of successfully defending their title, instability is rife at the Etihad Stadium.
That City's ability to compete is still determined by how many millions they can spend outlines their biggest problem: They have no structure.
It's akin to where Chelsea found themselves a decade or so ago.
With an owner and club trying to establish themselves in ways they never had before, Stamford Bridge was a tumultuous place.
No sooner had a manager gotten comfortable in his surroundings had he been issued his P45 and sent packing, replaced by another high-profile name who served just as short a stint before being sacked himself.
The player turnover was even more considerable.
Chelsea as a club was a travelling circus, only the team performed inside mega-stadiums and not a tent.
It's more serene now. When we talk of Chelsea, it's about solid business models, profits and shrewd transfer dealings.
How the times have changed.
Indeed, such has been the role reversal in English football, the mini domination of the north-west clubs has seemingly been defeated by London.
It's about Chelsea and Arsenal right now, a fact mirrored in the Premier League standings.
Arsenal have been threatening a return for some time, and they finally seem to have arrived at their destination.
Chelsea have the lead on them all, however.
Whereas Arsene Wenger still has gaping holes in his squad that must be plugged, Mourinho's built his from the bottom up.
The Chelsea boss has remained ever-ignorant to the rest of football. While other managers have been busy attempting to replicate a tiki-taka approach, Mourinho hasn't followed the trend.
He's stuck to his principles, and it's got Chelsea to where they are now.
Mourinho made his side solid and difficult to break down. They operate in unison. Even Eden Hazard is mastering the defensive side of his game far more than when Mourinho returned.
Now he's attempting to sprinkle a little bit of glitter.
There's still progress required—Champions League disappointment at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain outlining that much—yet Chelsea are further down the line than many of their rivals.
The billions may well be rolling into English football, but the performances on the continent this term show us that the transition to dominate Europe again is still in progress.
Teams are adjusting to tactical changes, discovering their own formula.
While Arsenal and the like are splashing the cash on big names, Chelsea are doing it with more focus on youth right now.
There are few players the wrong side of 30, and those coming through to replace the old generation will be spending the best years of their career in west London.
It's not exactly to the benefit of their academy, though. Still, there is no Chelsea graduate playing regularly for Mourinho. Instead, it's the up-and-coming stars from elsewhere who have established themselves.
Thibaut Courtois, Kurt Zouma, Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic—there's a long line of talents yet to reach their prime, but they're still outperforming those around them at rival clubs.
What's vital to all of this is how Chelsea have gradually built something that has the look of being sustainable. City, on the other hand, will need to face more financial fair play sanctions if they are to do the same.
As will United given the level of investment required to return them to what we once knew.
Pellegrini's City side is ageing together, and there are too many players approaching their 30s. Rather than a staggered period of ins and outs, it seems a complete overhaul is going to follow what has been a disappointing year.
In that sense, they are years behind where Chelsea find themselves.
Mourinho speaks about creating his own dynasty at Chelsea to rival Sir Alex at Manchester United.
He lifted the Capital One Cup just over a month ago, and when we look back, that day in March will be remembered as the moment the page turned on a new era.
Mourinho's dynasty has already started.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.