Jose Mourinho says 'improving' Chelsea will not win the Premier League title
Jose Mourinho has given the clearest signal yet that Chelsea’s Premier League title bid would fail this season after claiming the Champagne was on ice until 2015.
Mourinho marked his 51st birthday with a glass of bubbly at his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s game with West Ham United but admitted he could not see himself doing the same come May 11.
The Chelsea manager has consistently played down his side’s chances of finishing above Manchester City and Arsenal but he virtually wrote them off on Tuesday when asked about their hopes.
“I think you have to drink Champagne because we are improving,” he said.
“We are improving a lot, the team, the players. So the perspective of Champagne in the future is good. We are going in a good direction.
“But this season? I don't think so.”
Chelsea, who have won seven games in row, could go top on Wednesday if Arsenal fail to win at Southampton on Tuesday night and City do the same at Tottenham Hotspur 24 hours later.
But, mindful of the fact his side travel to the Etihad Stadium on Monday, Mourinho refused to put any more pressure on his team.
He said: “Our main objective this season is to build a team. The best way to build a team is to be competing for things.
“When you play Europa League, no evolution. When you play in the Premier League 20 points behind the leader, no evolution.
“Evolution comes at the same time you build a team and have serious competition.”
He added: “I think, next season, we’re going to have a very strong team, starting from day one with everybody.”
That team could yet include Samuel Eto’o, with Mourinho revealing the 32-year-old may be offered a new contract.
Eto’o was viewed as a stopgap signing last summer following Chelsea’s failed pursuit of Wayne Rooney and last week revealed his soon was urging him to re-join Mallorca.
Mourinho insisted he had not discounted handing a fresh deal to the man who hit a hat-trick against Manchester United nine days ago.
“We’ll see what he wants to do at the end of the season,” he said.
“Maybe he wants to go to Mallorca, as he promised his son. Maybe he wants to stay with us, or go and finish his career at Inter [Milan]. He doesn’t need titles, he doesn’t need money.”
Mourinho sidestepped questions about whether he had given up on signing Rooney, who is set to pen a new £300,000-a-week contract with United, news the Chelsea manager declared was “Fantastic.”
He also ruled out any more arrivals during the January transfer window unless he was forced to sell another player before Friday.