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Mourinho engineers another Pellegrini dig

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Jose Mourinho in pensive mood at his press conference yesterday

Jose Mourinho in pensive mood at his press conference yesterday

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Jose Mourinho in pensive mood at his press conference yesterday

Jose Mourinho escalated his war of words with Manuel Pellegrini yesterday when he poured scorn on the Manchester City manager's claim that Chelsea are still the Premier League's big spenders.

With a look of satisfaction, Mourinho also noted how Pellegrini had broken his pledge not to talk about him and suggested that his rival, who has a degree in engineering, needed the help of a calculator for even simple sums.

Last Friday, Pellegrini described Chelsea as a "very rich" little horse in response to Mourinho's repeated claim that his team are the outsiders in the title race compared to City's established thoroughbreds.

Pellegrini also used the word "lie" in reference to Mourinho's recent comments.

"Everybody knows what Manchester City are," responded Mourinho. "Pellegrini was talking about the money we've spent.

" I think he's a fantastic coach, and I respect that a lot. Outside his football career, he's an engineer by academic formation.

"I don't think an engineer needs a calculator to do Juan Mata £37m and Kevin de Bruyne £18m. So that's £55m (Chelsea's January sales).

"Nemanja Matic is £21m and Mohamed Salah is £11m. That's £32m (Chelsea's January buys). 55 minus 32 is 23. So Chelsea, in this transfer window, generated £23m. We don't need a calculator for this. It's easy.

"The message he wanted to pass out is that we are also big spenders like them, but that's not true. Of the big teams, those in the top four, we are the only ones who made a profit, and a big profit."

Mourinho, slightly conveniently, declined to factor in Chelsea's £12m purchase of Kurt Zouma, although the 19-year-old has been loaned back to St Etienne.

Unlike many previous transfer windows, Chelsea did not seriously compete last summer for the main available strikers in Europe, such as Edinson Cavani or Radamel Falcao. They did still spend around £60m on Andre Schurrle, Marco Van Ginkel, Samuel Eto'o and Willian.

Mourinho said that Chelsea's refusal to compete for Cavani and Falcao was directly related to their desire to respect UEFA's new financial fair-play regulations. "Correct," he said. "Players are not just about transfer fees, but big wages. There's a certain profile of player we don't go near."

City, who have posted losses of £149.5m over the past two years, still insist they will meet UEFA's complicated FFP rules that supposedly hinge on the principle that you cannot spend more than you earn.

"It has to be the same rule for everyone," said Mourinho. "The offside rule is the same for everyone. Handball in the box is a penalty for everyone. FFP must apply to all of us."

Mourinho then contrasted Chelsea's long-term planning with a City team who, he argues, have spent for the immediate future. Of Chelsea's recent transfer strategy, Mourinho said: "It's easy to understand that this is working with financial fair play, fair financial fair play. Others aren't doing the same. We are building a team for the next decade, if possible.

"They (City) have a team to win now because they don't have a team for 10 years. They have a team for now, for the next three or four years. So experience, potential, power, not worried about FFP because, in the summer, they just spend."

Chelsea will be boosted against West Bromwich Albion tonight by the return of Fernando Torres, while John Terry should again be available to face Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent