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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 2, 2006

Mourinho dismisses Liverpool title challenge

Jose Mourinho claims Manchester United and Arsenal pose a bigger threat to Chelsea's Premiership crown than Liverpool.

The colourful Stamford Bridge manager disagrees with captain John Terry's prediction that Rafael Benitez's men will be leading the chasing pack in the race for the title this season.

Liverpool have bolstered their attack with the arrivals of Craig Bellamy and Jermain Pennant but Mourinho believes United and Arsenal will be stronger, especially with the respective arrivals of Michael Carrick and Tomas Rosicky.

He said: 'I still believe that Man United and Arsenal will be the biggest threat, in spite of the fact Arsenal finished fourth and Liverpool third. They will still be the better teams.

'I say that because of the quality of their football, the way they play, the improvements in their squads.

'Man United will improve a lot by having Michael Carrick. He's a very, very good player and he will improve them.

'United have had some problems since Roy Keane went to Celtic. But they have already a very good team and don't need 10 players to improve their team, they just choose the right players for the right position.

'It's the right choice to get Michael Carrick. He's a big improvement for them and I think they can be a very strong team.

'Arsenal were not successful in the Premiership but had success, you can say that because they reached the final of the Champions League playing always very good football.

'They have a very good group of players, and some young players with great motivation. Rosicky is also a very important player for them and can bring them the kind of quality - I don't want to compare him to Dennis Bergkamp because he was more than special - but Rosicky can bring that kind of quality to the left side. I think they are a very strong team.

'Liverpool are different. They are very competitive, it's very difficult to beat them. If they score a goal before you score it's very difficult to change it because they defend really well with 11 players very, very compact.

'They are tactically very good. And they are potentially fighting for the front pack but I still fancy more the way Manchester United and Arsenal play football.'

But Mourinho believes Chelsea have raised the bar further with the additions of Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack.

Ashley Cole is expected to follow and the Portuguese boss added: 'In leagues with 38 or 42 matches, the best team wins.

'It's different in knockout competition where anything can make a difference, but not in the Premiership. We were the best team for sure in England in the last two years.

'The fight is against ourselves. We must challenge ourselves. We don't need for other people to put pressure on us. We have to put pressure on ourselves and push us with big motivations to keep improving.

'The new players we have are not many but are high quality players and they are new motivation for us. Sheva and Ballack don't come here just to make more money, they don't come here to learn English or enjoy London they come here for a big challenge.

'It's a crucial part in their career at 29-30 and they come here to find a new challenge and be successful.

'I was telling the players this group here the way they are working together reminds me of our group in the first year I came here. In the first year from the first day we were feeling and smelling a fantastic group and a great family.

'These kind of feelings are back. We feel very, very comfortable all together, living together and working together. Of course leaving our wives and families behind is difficult and that's normal but we feel very very comfortable.

'I don't believe it will be easy for other clubs to stop us because we are building a very strong football team and also a very strong family.'