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Aug 14, 2008

Jose rules Gunners out of title reckoning

His time in English football may be at an end, for now at least. Yet Jose Mourinho has had his say on who he sees as the leading lights in the Premier League. And in dismissing Arsenal as contenders he may well have annoyed old adversary Arsene Wenger especially as he sees Tottenham possibly usurping their North London rivals. Mourinho backed Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool to challenge for the title this season but has discounted Arsenal as title contenders. He said: 'I would put Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool as favourites again to win the Premier League. 'I see nobody else to win the Premier League, but Tottenham surely have the quality to fight for a top-four finish.' Mourinho left Chelsea in September last year after three years at Chelsea in which he grasped the title from the grip of Wenger before conceding it to Manchester United. Relations with Wenger were rarely cordial during that time. Though Mourinho, speaking to Ford's Feel Football website, was referring to an Arsenal squad that has lost players of the quality of Matthieu Flamini, Alexandr Hleb and Gilberto said: 'Regarding Arsenal, they also have a great team, but I'm not sure if the group have enough experience and quality to win.' Asked how Chelsea successor Luiz Felipe Scolari would fare in his first season in England, Mourinho warned the new Blues boss would be expected to hit the ground running. He continued: 'Phil Scolari has not made a lot of changes since he arrived at the club. 'He has kept the same structure, the same system and the same football. He is a good leader, and he can do very well. 'The only insight or advice I would give him ahead of his first season is that he is in a club that is ready to win.' And Mourinho had comforting words for the frustrated fans of Newcastle United: 'I cannot really say who the surprise team will be - but year after year we always wait for a better Newcastle. 'They are a top club, they have huge support and they have good players, so we wait for more from them.'

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