Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea remain favourites to finish fourth as Tottenham boss piles pressure on former side

Dan Kilpatrick
REUTERS

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has piled the pressure on Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Stamford Bridge, claiming the Blues are favourites to finish fourth.

Mourinho is expected to receive a frosty reception on his return to Stamford Bridge but he also insisted he does not "have a single problem" with his former club.

The Portuguese returns to west London for the first time as Spurs boss with his side just one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the race for the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Spurs have gained 11 points on their rivals since Mourinho's appointment in November, despite a 2-0 defeat to Frank Lampard's side on December 22, but they travel across London without top-scorers Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, who are not expected to feature again until May.

At an earlier briefing, Mourinho claimed finishing fourth in the current circumstances would be his greatest achievement as a manager and he is believes Chelsea are favourites as things stand.

"At the moment, Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal, Sheffield United, Wolverhampton, Everton – we are the underdogs," Mourinho said.

"We have ambitions to go there, but we all are one, two, three points behind Chelsea. So Chelsea has an advantage over all of us.

"That is obvious. It is not a big advantage, but it is an advantage. So Chelsea at the moment are favourites for fourth position considering Leicester has nine or 10 points more at this stage of the season. But of course Chelsea are favourites for fourth at this moment."

Mourinho could not resist reminding Chelsea fans of his three Premier League titles with the club during the match in north London by holding three fingers aloft in a provocative gesture.

The 57-year-old is not expecting a warm welcome on Saturday but insists he is treated with nothing but respect by Chelsea supporters and the club's hierarchy.

"One thing is the way I am treated in the stadium, another is the way I'm treated on the street," Mourinho said. "And on the street, every time I am approached by fans from all different clubs – not just the clubs where I've been working before, even clubs that I have no connection with like Crystal Palace, West Ham – I am approached with care, respect, great feelings. When the Chelsea fans find me in the street [they are] full of respect.

Mourinho ready for another reunion with Lampard (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

“So one thing for me is my social life and what I call the street, another thing is the football stadium. And in the football stadium it is a completely different environment. People are emotional, people just want to win and they look at the opposition as the 'sports enemy'. I don’t want to say 'enemy', as it is too strong in sport.

"I don’t go to the director's box but I know if I want to go there I just need to pick up the phone and I will be treated the way I deserve," added Mourinho, who last returned to Stamford Bridge as a pundit for Sky Sports.

"The club respects me and people like me who belong to their past. I don’t have a single problem with the club, not at all. I know if I want to go to Chelsea vs Bayern Munich next week they will not make me sit with the Bayern fans."

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