Jose Mourinho has continued to snipe at Manchester City by claiming the club should have won more trophies considering their huge spending.
With Chelsea travelling to the Etihad Stadium on Monday for what could prove a crucial fixture in this season’s title race, Mourinho has already goaded Manuel Pellegrini by claiming City have been “lucky” with refereeing decisions this season.
The Blues boss has now insisted the Premier League leaders have underachieved since their takeover by Sheikh Mansour in 2008. Under Pellegrini’s predecessor Roberto Mancini, City won an FA Cup in 2011 and their first Premier League title for 44 years in 2012, but twice failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
"They won one title, won a couple of cups," Mourinho said. "Only in Europe they didn't do well, or close to doing well. Speaking objectively, they did very bad in the Champions League in previous seasons, also in the Europa League.
"But the team is fantastic, the squad is fantastic and normally they [should] win more titles."
With City through to the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time, Mourinho also joked that Pellegrini should do his research before their tie against Barcelona -- a reference to Pellegrini’s miscalculation at Bayern Munich when his side could have advanced as group winners had they scored one more goal.
"The first thing to be successful in Europe is to know the rules of the competition. That's the first thing," Mourinho joked.
Mourinho reiterated his belief that City are favourites for the title, and that Chelsea will be in a better position to challenge next season.
He added: "I enjoy building a team. I enjoy building the future. I enjoy not working just for today, and next season to start again with another team, spending a lot of money again, selling a lot of players, bringing in a lot of players.
"I'm enjoying this very, very much. To be the underdog I don't enjoy. [But] I think I'm going to enjoy next season. It is more me -- and I think it's more Chelsea too -- to start next season and say immediately we are candidates, the same way the others are candidates."
Asked if Chelsea could keep up with City in the transfer market, Mourinho said: "We think that we are not very far from having a squad that allows us to compete face to face with every club, doesn't matter how much the investment is, doesn't matter how much the financial play is 'fair' or 'dodgy'."
Pellegrini, though, has refused to be drawn into a war of words with Mourinho.
The Portuguese has a perceived rivalry with Pellegrini dating back to when he succeeded the City boss as Real Madrid coach in 2010 but, even when reminded of Mourinho's celebrations after Chelsea beat City in October, which appeared to irritate him at the time, Pellegrini reacted with indifference.
He said: “I remember perfectly but, I repeat, I don't want this game to be a thing about Mourinho and me.”
Chelsea won the clash at Stamford Bridge after a late mix-up between goalkeeper Joe Hart and defender Matija Nastasic gifted Fernando Torres a winner.
Pellegrini feels his team matched Chelsea on that occasion but contributed to their own downfall.
He said: “I don't know if they were lucky. We made a mistake in the last minute. Maybe they didn't play better than we did. We tried to win the game but football has another thing that has a lot of importance in the scores.
“In that game, they won because of our errors. I don't know if winning (on Monday) is a strong message.
“It is important because we play at home against a team that fights for the title, but anything that happens in this game is not the end of the Premier League. After that you still have 42 points to play for.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report