LONDON -- Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told his players that the current Premier League table is “fake,” while again suggesting he would rather be in Manchester City’s position heading into the final two months of the campaign.
City are nine points behind leaders Chelsea with three games in hand and while most observers would argue the healthy position the Blues find themselves in makes them strong title favourites, one prominent voice begs to differ.
Even though Mourinho admitted he is ahead of schedule in his bid to turn Chelsea into a title-winning team once again, he remains adamant that City are still in pole position to carry off the Premier League crown.
"I keep saying the same, the table is fake," stated Mourinho. "If you have just the number of points, the table is fake. Before the number of points is the number of matches.
"We could have 30 points more than them and [have played] 10 matches more. It means nothing. When everybody has the same number of matches, I don't know when this is going to happen, maybe in the last week of the competition, only in that moment is when the table is real.
"I still say I prefer the destiny in my hands. The destiny is only in the hands of the team that can win every game to be champion. There is only one team to do this and it is not us.
"I think my team is motivated, the team is strong, the team has a good mentality, but not because of the table. They know the table is fake. What they also know is that every match we have to try and win, every match we have to try and improve.
"We have clear objectives for next season. We are ahead [of schedule this season]. That is not fake, it is real. We have 66 points. They are real, not fake. Lots of work, lots of sweat and the players deserve the 66 points they have.
"If we have the chance to do it [win the title] this season, we don't say no."
Mourinho admitted he "didn't know how many points" would be required to win the title, but said the atmosphere around this push for this title had a very different feel to his previous successes as Chelsea boss.
"In 2004-05 and 2005-06, it was just Chelsea and Man Utd, two teams," he reflected. "In this moment four teams can win it so it is a completely different pictures.
"How many points to win the title? I don't know. I don't want to think about it. We have a very difficult match tomorrow. That is all I think about."
Mourinho confirmed striker Fernando Torres is close to a first team return after he picked up a "minor" injury in the warmup ahead of last weekend's Premier League game against Tottenham. Defenders David Luiz and Ashley Cole remain on the sidelines for the trip to Aston Villa.