Chelsea at a disadvantage in title race, says Mourinho

Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:32am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea's Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool enjoy a big advantage at the business end of the season because they are not involved in the Champions League, manager Jose Mourinho said.

Leaders Chelsea have seven Premier League games left, compared to nine for 2012 champions City, but face Paris St Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals with the first leg in Paris on Wednesday.

"We have the most difficult (run in) because we play Champions League - they don't. We have to play matches with two and three days in between," Mourinho told reporters on Friday ahead of Saturday's trip across London to face Crystal Palace (1500).

"We have to change our focus from the Premier League to the Champions League... play two big matches (against PSG).

"We have no time to prepare for matches like (City and Liverpool) they have. It's an advantage that City has now, an advantage that Liverpool have had since the beginning of the season."

Chelsea start the weekend programme a point ahead of Liverpool, who host Tottenham on Sunday (1600) and three ahead of City, who are away at fourth-placed Arsenal on Saturday evening (1730).

Mourinho said Liverpool, who they play at Anfield on April 27, had enjoyed the "perfect season" to emerge again as title aspirants.

"When you have six days a week to prepare, to train six days a week to train, maybe twice a day... you have conditions to improve that nobody has," he said.

"You can see clearly that some of their players are not paying the consequences of (fatigue) accumulation. You see freshness. The season for them is the perfect season to do what they are doing."   Continued...

Newly reappointed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reacts during a news conference at Stamford Bridge stadium in London June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett