Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was still suggesting the Premier League title is Manchester City's to lose despite moving seven points clear at the top with a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
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Mourinho's side now have a nine-point cushion over City, but Manuel Pellegrini's side have three games in hand due to their involvement in the latter stages of both domestic cup competitions and a superior goal difference.
"I would like to be in their position, because if they win the matches they are top of the league," Mourinho said. "If we win the next nine matches, we may not be champions.
"If Manchester City win the 12 matches they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands and we don't have ours. I would prefer to have my destiny in my hands. It doesn't depend on us. It depends on them."
Mourinho admits mission one of his return season is complete, though, with a top-four finish and Champions League qualification seemingly secure.
"The top four is for us to lose," said Mourinho, whose side have a commanding advantage over fifth-placed Spurs, sixth-placed Manchester United and seventh-placed Everton. "I really don't believe that we are going to lose that distance. Now let's go for objective number two, which is top three -- which gives direct Champions League qualification."
Fernando Torres withdrew with a groin injury following the warmup which could see him out for "a couple of weeks." Cameroon striker Eto'o, whose age was questioned recently in unguarded comments made by Mourinho, celebrates his 33rd birthday on Monday and stood crooked at the corner flag, as if using it as an old man's stick, following his goal. Mourinho was aware of the celebration before it was acted out.
"The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation," Mourinho said. "Some newspapers do great with photoshop. Now they don't need photoshop. They have the real pic."