LONDON -- Jose Mourinho has finally admitted Chelsea are in the title race, issuing a rallying cry that marks a significant shift in tone from the last few months.
After repeatedly insisting his side were primarily concerned with a top-four finish, it is pointed that Mourinho chose the week after they finally fell from top spot following a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace to declare that Chelsea “are there”.
The Portuguese coach was asked about the fact that Liverpool and Manchester City have scored so many more goals than his team, but he insisted that it was not a concern.
“What I like is the fact [that] with such a difference in goals the difference in points is not so big. We have two points less than Liverpool and you’re talking about a huge difference in goals that they have scored. We probably have a huge difference in goals we concede and they concede.
“We are there, two points behind Liverpool and two, three, four behind Man City. What’s important for us, two years ago Chelsea finished 25 [points] behind the lead, last season 20 points, when Man United was champion.
"This season we are not 25, 20, 15 points behind. We are two points behind. Let’s see the points difference at the end of the season. That’s what I want to highlight and show that, even with difficulties, we can improve and we can start the next season thinking that we can do even better.
“We try to win the matches we have. We don’t depend on us. We depend on others. I was saying [that] for a long time, even when we were top of the league with more matches than City. We were once in a position on [the] same number of points and matches. Top of the league, never.
"We were always in a future position. It doesn’t depend on us. We had the beautiful match vs. Aston Villa and after that, the defeat vs. Crystal Palace. That put us in a position where we depend a lot on other results. What we can control is our motivation to win the matches we have. At the end of the season, let’s see the points we have and the position we are.”
Finally, Mourinho praised Brendan Rodgers as the perfect manager to guide Liverpool through this title race.
“I just feel they are a good team with special players in attack with a very good manager, with a privileged position of playing only one match per week and that’s the only thing I can say," he added. "Their ambitions, responsibilities and their feelings -- I think Brendan is the guy for it."