Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Manchester City should be recognised as favourites for the Premier League title next season after a summer of extravagant spending was overseen by new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
City have spent close to £100m in signing Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo from Sevilla and Montenegro schemer Stevan Jovetic, with Mourinho suggesting that adds up to a winning combination.
Comparing City’s spending exploits to the pressure he was forced to deal with when he was offered huge transfer funds during his first spell as Chelsea boss, Mourinho was keen to remind Pellegrini of the expectations he will need to handle in his first season in English football.
"In my first spell you 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,” said Mourinho, who had earlier denied playing mind games with rival managers following his return to Chelsea.
“I know the players City have bought and they are players without surprises. They are more than ready. If you see their ages, their maturity, they are in the perfect moment of their career to go to England.
“They have no need for adaptation, no need of work to learn the project. They are players at the top of their careers, experienced but still young, so I think they’ve bought very, very well.
“So of course people should be expecting more of them, with their experience, than my young team. Young players are not at the best they will be. They need to learn, they need time to get to the top.
“Navas and Negredo are two world champions, two European champions. Jovetic has been one of the best in Serie A for more than two years. Fernandinho has big experience.
“They bought very well. That doesn’t surprise me, because they have the money to buy, but also the knowledge. They have people in the club that know a lot about football.”
Mourinho went on to suggest success with this current Chelsea squad would rate as his finest achievement as a coach, as he suggested the youthful nature of the Blues squad means he faces an uphill challenge.
“When people ask what it will mean if we win the title, I say there are no 'ifs' - either we win or we don't,” he added. “It would be different. It can be better because I always say that the best trophy you have is the most recent one. If we win this season, with this group, it will be the best for many reasons.”
Mourinho again refused to be drawn on his ongoing pursuit for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, after vowing not to comment on the issue after an initial statement last week.