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Mourinho plays down Chelsea's chances -- and talks up Manchester City's

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Stanley Chou

No, this isn't Jose Mourinho turning traitor and talking about our friends from the Etihad like they're going to win the Premier League. Instead, it's a minor reality check on Chelsea's ambitions next season with a developing squad and a way to pile on some pressure for new manager Manuel Pellegrini:

Of course [we should expect more from City's squad than Chelsea's]. Young players are not at the best they will be. They need to learn, they need time to get to the top.

I know the players they’ve bought. You are talking about [Jesús] Navas and [Álvaro] Negredo, they are two world champions, two European champions. [Stevan] Jovetic, for more than two years, is one of the best in Italian football. He has five years of Fiorentina, playing in Serie A at the highest level. Fernandinho has more experience, a national team player.

In my first time you [the media] were always putting pressure on me saying: ‘You buy this, you spend that, you buy the title’. So I hope now it is on the other side. It’s always difficult to win. You can have the best players but you have other kinds of problems.

-Source: Telegraph.

One of the best things about our transfer policy in recent years has been the switch towards buying young players with potential, capped by the acqusition of Eden Hazard last season. It's cheaper than grabbing established stars and building a team around them, and we'll feel more attached to the players having seem them grow up in our ranks. But it does come with a downside -- we'll have to go through the growing up process. Apart from Stevan Jovetic, City's recent buys are ready-made.

Of course, Mourinho will have had a twinkle in his eyes when he said all this, because he knows that heaping expectations upon a side that crumbled under the pressure of defending their first Premier League crown will probably yield some amusing results, while taking some off the Blues' youngsters should be fairly beneficial. It's also an indication that the new manager does indeed see this Chelsea as a long-term project that needs to be tended too and grown into a dynasty rather than being a quick trophy stop on his CV.

Wasn't Mourinho not playing mind games anymore?