Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes the Blues are only still in with a chance of winning the Premier League this season as Manchester City and Arsenal have not been at their best.
Mourinho has continually played down his side’s title chances since arriving back at Stamford Bridge last summer, insisting that they will not be real contenders until next term.
And speaking ahead of Saturday's match at home to Newcastle, the Portuguese once again stated that City and the Gunners have more chance of securing the Premier League crown come May.
“We are there because we are doing very well or because maybe Man City and Arsenal are not doing as well as they should with the conditions they have,” Mourinho said. “Do we dream to win the Premier League? Of course. If we don't, we don't play.
“Do we want to win the next game against Newcastle and be there? Of course. If we have the chance to win we are not going to say we don't want to, but we have not the same responsibilities, that's for sure.
“When we lost two points against West Ham, many people were saying we have no attacking power to win every match and to win the Premier League and to compete against teams that score goals and goals and goals and goals.
“Just because we won against Man City, now people are changing their opinion. But I know where we are, I know that we are good and working well and playing well, but we are going step by step. Let us enjoy the moment, the moment is good. We all like very much to be there, to be close to them. That's good but no more than that.”
Many believe Mourinho is simply playing mind games by saying that Chelsea are not favourites for the title this season.
“Everything I say is mind games,” he said. “Everything I do is mind games. Everything is mind games. The only thing that is not mind games is the results. That's not mind games.”
Mourinho added: “I'm not saying we are not going to win. I'm saying we are not candidates. I'm saying we are outsiders. I'm saying we are playing our league, against ourselves, to try to improve against the other opponents to try to get the best result.
“We are not a squad like Man City's with every player in the best moment of their careers, all of them working together for quite a long time -- a manager [Manuel Pellegrini] that arrived and the team was there ready for him.
“Arsenal are the biggest example of the stability, the biggest example of a manager [Arsene Wenger] working with players year after year. We are different. We are beginning. In the first day of the next preseason I will say yes we are there and we accept that Chelsea as a candidate. Today, no.”
Since the Nov. 2 loss at Newcastle, Chelsea have lost just once in the Premier League, while they are unbeaten in nine league games since the loss at Stoke.
“We are improving,” Mourinho said. “In this moment [last season] Chelsea were outside of every possible race and struggling to get a top-four position to play Champions League [football]. I see the boys enjoying the situation very much and that's what I want them to do.”
Mourinho, who refused to be drawn on reports Chelsea will bid to sign Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, will be without the injured Fernando Torres against Newcastle. Mohamed Salah could make his debut, though, after being an unused substitute against Manchester City on Monday, while Torres could play against West Brom on Tuesday.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report