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By ESPN Staff

Mourinho finally feeling the pressure... of bird flu

Jose Mourinho claims he is more concerned by a potential outbreak of bird flu than Manchester United's Barclays Premiership title challenge.

United's eight-match winning run in the league has slashed Chelsea's lead at the top to seven points, but Mourinho insists he is happy with his team's position.

Instead, the Chelsea manager has suffered greater anxiety by the discovery that the dead swan washed-up in a Fife fishing village last Wednesday was carrying the deadly bird-flu virus.

'For me pressure is bird flu. I'm serious. I'm feeling a lot of pressure with the problem in Scotland,' he said.

'It's not fun and I'm more scared of it than football. Football is nothing compared with life. For me bird flu is the drama of the last few days. I'll have to buy a mask.'

He added: 'For me pressure depends on the individual. If you ask Claude Makelele if he feels pressure he will say no because he's played for Real Madrid and won championships.

'If you ask a young player who has never been involved in this situation and who has never been a champion before, maybe the answer is different. It depends on the individual.'

United's late charge has breathed new life into the title race but to complete the greatest comeback in Premiership history would be the most remarkable achievement of manager Sir Alex Ferguson's illustrious career.

Just six games remain and although Mourinho is disappointed Chelsea have seen their lead reduced by a dip in away form, he insists it is Ferguson who should be feeling the pressure.

'United have had a very good run. Eight consecutive victories? That's fantastic. And I would prefer to have 15 points more than seven,' he said.

'But I would always prefer to have more points more than less. To say I'm concerned is not correct. I'm not happy with the points we dropped - normally we have to beat Fulham and Birmingham.

'But concerned is the correct word for Manchester United. I think they should be very concerned by the gap.

'I think Sir Alex Ferguson has to be an optimistic person, otherwise he wouldn't be in his job for so long.

'I haven't been in the job for so long but also have reasons to be optimistic because I can win my fourth consecutive title.

'The difference is United people will watch Chelsea against West Ham with a very high heartbeat.

'But we can be very calm and cool when we watch United play Arsenal, or even don't watch it at all, because our future depends on our own results.

'I would love to be in the same situation next season as I am in now. We haven't spoken about the title race.'

Mourinho admits Chelsea's away form - they lost to Fulham and drew at Birmingham in their last two matches on the road - has been disappointing.

But with three of their remaining six outings - including Sunday's clash with West Ham - staged at Stamford Bridge, he is confident they will retain the title.

'We've worked well in training and that's more important than speeches,' he said.

'For me therapy is working every day on the pitch. Our bad results for the last few matches have been away, not at home, and if we win all our home matches we're champions.

'Our situation is a very good situation. Over the course of the season the best team wins. You can't have any complaints. That's the best thing about the championship.

'United are on a fantastic run but why do Chelsea have a seven-point lead? Because we have also had a very important run.

'What is more important? To finish well or start well. For me the best team always wins the league and it's where you are on the final day that counts.'

Meanwhile, Cristian Chivu's agent has denied reports Real Madrid and Chelsea are interested in signing the Romania international.

Chivu was reported to be a Chelsea target two years ago but opted to join Roma from Ajax, and he is set to remain at the Stadio Olimpico for a further season, according to agent Andrea Pretti.

'We are not aware of any interest from Real Madrid or Chelsea for Chivu,' Pretti told PA Sport. 'Chivu is happy in Rome and therefore, we haven't sought another alternative.'