At first impression it serves no purpose – if Mourinho was trying to put the Manchester United camp under pressure by claiming that Chelsea would be on top of the table pretty soon, he’d know from experience and common sense that Manchester United are hardly going to be bothered with such petty shots, especially if they come from Chelsea’s direction.
The other ‘convenient’ theory is that Mourinho says what he thinks, but it’s not as simple as that. Chelsea players will tell you that Mourinho’s public and private personas are 180 degrees different – he’s kind and considerate in the dressing room, brash and antagonistic in front of the press pack.
It’s an act that he’s living, and he’s doing it pretty well. But not to rile Ferguson or Manchester United up – because United have been in the title-winning business long enough to disregard such petty comments.
Mourinho’s bluster is eventually there to cheer up his own players – the bravado serves only Chelsea’s morale, and maybe along the way detracts attention from Chelsea’s misfiring stars.
It’s an effective but crude formula – distort the stats in your favour, make bold claims and pretend to be completely serious while doing so.
Managers have been doing it for a long time, and the media lap it up. At the end of the day, it has no bearing on what United do or Chelsea do. And as predictions go, it’s pretty much a blind shot in the dark.