Mourinho: Blues ahead of schedule
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea are ahead of schedule in challenging for the Premier League title this term, but still believes the destination of the trophy is out of their hands.
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The Blues could go 10 points clear of Arsenal and Liverpool, who enter the weekend in joint-second place and each play on Sunday, with victory at Aston Villa on Saturday but Mourinho maintains the table is not accurate.
Manchester City, who are nine points adrift with three games in hand, are Mourinho's title favourites and Chelsea hope to keep their composure entering the remaining nine games, beginning at Villa Park.
"The team is motivated and the team is strong and the team has a good mentality and a good spirit, but not because of the table," Mourinho said.
"They know the table is fake. What they also know is that every match we have to try to win, every match we have to try to improve.
"We have clear objectives for next season. If we can do it this season, we don't say no.
"We are very calm, we are very relaxed. I think that's important."
Mourinho would not be drawn on how many points Chelsea, who have 66 after 29 games, would need to win the Premier League.
"I don't want to think about it," he said.
"Tomorrow we have a match, a very difficult one. Three points would be fabulous.
"One point is not a bad result at Villa Park. Zero points would be a negative result.
"After Villa comes Arsenal (on March 22) for the Premier League and we go match by match."
Mourinho twice won the Premier League in his first spell as Chelsea manager, winning a duel with Manchester United, but now it is a four-way battle in which he thinks 2012 winners City are clear favourites.
The Blues boss added: "There is only one team that if they win every game is champion. That is not us.
"To win the Premier League we have to win nine matches and we have to wait for Man City not to win every match.
"We could have 30 points more than them and 10 matches more. It means nothing.
"When everybody has the same number of matches - I don't know when this is going to happen, maybe in the last week of competition - is when the table is real."
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure believes Mourinho "talks more than before" and accused the Portuguese of being disrespectful by discussing other teams.
Mourinho insists his comments on Arsenal and City prior to their Champions League matches this week were only made out of support.
"I don't think this is lack of respect. This is support," Mourinho said.
"The same way I say Man City has three matches in hand and they are capable of winning all three matches to become top of the league, if that is lack of respect, he has a strange concept of lack of respect."
Asked if Toure's comments suggest City are feeling the pressure after exiting the FA Cup and Champions League in recent weeks, Mourinho said: "I don't want to say anything else. I don't want to be misinterpreted.
"I don't want another big Man City player to say that I'm not respectful."
Chelsea could have striker Fernando Torres back on Saturday, with the striker's groin injury not as bad as first feared.
Torres withdrew from the starting XI ahead of last Saturday's 4-0 defeat of Tottenham, with his replacement Samuel Eto'o scoring the opening goal and Demba Ba netting twice off the substitutes' bench.
Scans have revealed Torres could feature at Villa Park or in the Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Galatasaray.
"It was only a little thing, but when you feel that little thing before the game you don't play," Mourinho added.
Mourinho's Chelsea dropped just two points in February - when West Brom rescued a late draw - yet the manager and playmaker Eden Hazard were overlooked for the monthly awards, with West Ham's Sam Allardyce and Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool given the gongs.
"For Hazard to arrive in March without one single (award) makes me laugh," Mourinho said.