Jose Mourinho has said financial fair play prevented Chelsea making moves for the likes of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani in the summer.
The Blues ultimately signed Samuel Eto’o from Anzhi Makhachkala in August, having failed with a high-profile attempt to sign Wayne Rooney after Manchester United refused to contemplate a sale.
However, Falcao and Cavani were available, with the former leaving Atletico Madrid for Monaco and the latter joining Paris Saint-Germain from Napoli, and Mourinho has now confirmed that UEFA’s financial restrictions, designed to prevent overspending, had ended the Blues’ interest in the strikers.
Asked if financial fair play was to blame, he said: “Correct -- because of transfer fees and salaries. Players are not just about transfer fees, but big wages. Of course there's a certain profile of player we don't go near.”
Prior to the regulations coming into effect in the 2011-12 season, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had been free to invest heavily in the squad, but Mourinho claims he is enjoying working with the financial restraints in his second spell at Stamford Bridge, saying: “It's even better and even more enjoyable work, I think.
“Chelsea made great investment in the past, and in some moments were also a bit criticised because we did so much, but things change.”
Mourinho also dismissed Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s claim that Chelsea are not merely “a little horse” in the title race, as the Portuguese recently claimed.
Chelsea signed Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Kurt Zouma last month -- spending more than any club in Europe -- and Pellegrini had said: “This is the team that spends most money in the last 10 years, it is the team that spends most money this year and the team that spends the most money in the transfer window so [it is] little but rich.”
However, Mourinho -- overlooking the deal to sign Zouma, who will join from St Etienne in the summer -- pointed to the fact Chelsea also sold Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne for significant profits last month.
He said: “I don't have to repeat myself a lot, but everybody knows what Manchester City are. What I would like to say is that, for example, Pellegrini was talking about the money we've spent.
“I think he's a fantastic coach, and I respect that a lot, and on top of that, outside his football career, he's an engineer by qualification. I don't think an engineer needs a calculator to do Mata 37 million pounds and De Bruyne 18 million pounds, so that's 55 million pounds. Matic is 21 million pounds and Salah is 11 million pounds. That's 32 million pounds, and 55 minus 32 is 23 -- so Chelsea, in this transfer window, generated 23 million pounds.
“It's easy to understand that this is working with financial fair play -- 'fair' financial fair play. There are no arguments against that. This is what we're doing. Others aren't doing the same. We are building a team for the next decade, if possible. [City] have a team to win now because they don't have a team for 10 years. They have a team for now, for the next three or four. So experience, potential, power, not worried about financial fair play because, in the summer, they just spend.
“We don't need a calculator for this. It's easy: plus 23 [million pounds].”
Mourinho -- who has had a perceived spat with Pellegrini dating back to 2010, when the Portuguese succeeded the Chilean as Real Madrid coach -- questioned why the City boss was now publicly discussing him.
“Pellegrini has a fantastic team, fantastic players and is a good manager,” he said. “He has lots of experience, so it's not a problem for him. There are 13 matches left and 39 points available, and that's an eternity in a league. He's been speaking about winning four competitions, so there's no reason to change the speech. But the only thing that is funny that he keeps saying he never responds to Mourinho, he never comments about Mourinho. He said that in Spain, too. So, he's changed.”