Mourinho’s unlikely stories: Leicester can become champions – and Chelsea can still finish fourth
Manager believes unlikely Premier League leaders can last the distance
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea can still make the top four but also says Leicester City can actually win the Premier League ahead of their key clash on Monday.
The defending champions travel to the Kingpower Stadium, with Mourinho's side 14th in the table and Leicester sitting unexpectedly top.
That has been partly down to the big teams not performing to their usual level, and the Chelsea manager also believes it can give his side a chance to get back into the Champions League chase.
“Before we lost the last three points against Bournemouth I was convinced, absolutely convinced of the fourth position in the table. I was absolutely convinced of a great December for us.
“But the reality is some clubs are doing so well and some other clubs are not capable of doing what people are used to.
“It's not easy for the top clubs any more to win three, four, five, 10 matches in a row. So who knows?
Mourinho also thinks it is possible that Leicester win the title.
“Well, first of all they deserve to be where they are. I think, let's be honest. I told a couple of weeks ago I don't believe they can be champions.
“Maybe I have to think twice before saying that again. One thing is to be top of the league in September after a beautiful start. Another thing is to be top of the league in December, that's a completely different story.
“It would be something magnificent, something to impress the football world, but sometimes these things can happen. Why not to happen with them?
Mourinho succeeded Ranieri in the Chelsea job back in 2004, and clashed with him when both managed in Italy between 2008 and 2010, but only had huge praise for the Italian on the eve of their meeting - stating that the Leicester boss has been by far the best coach in the Premier League this season.
“He has just won manager of the month. I think he should win manager of the half-term. If you could give an award to the first six months of competition, everybody is miles away from him. And every club is miles away from what Leicester is doing.
Mourinho also lamented the sacking of Garry Monk by Swansea City, and said he was hugely “unlucky” – but that does not mean the Portuguese has been lucky to keep his own job.
“I am always against the sack, I think the end of the season is the moment to change things when people analyse the work of the season and believe that the best time is to change.
“The clubs, the owners and the cops have the power, it is their decision, what more can I say, I feel very sorry for him, I feel he did the work that impressed last season, he got the trees and was doing so well and showing some great qualities as a manager so it is a surprise. That is the reality.
“To be sacked you only need to have a job. If you have a job you risk being sacked. This is a new tendency in English football, with some contributions because the opinion makers have an influence, lots of people without ethics are surrounding the houses with problems, so in in the end Garry was a victim.”
Asked whether it meant he was lucky to stay at Chelsea, Mourinho merely said “no”.
“I think my situation is the bad results are not normal, but the situation to keep the job and to have the chance to improve and to finish the work is to be normal. What is not normal and not fair is what is happening almost every day.”