LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho stoked up his war of words with Manuel Pellegrini on Monday, questioning the Manchester City manager’s sums and calling on the Chilean’s talismanic midfielder Yaya Toure to be suspended.
Mourinho, who will have Fernando Torres fit to return at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday after a three-week layoff with a knee problem but is again without John Terry due to a minor injury, took the mind games to a new level on the eve of the Premier League tussle at The Hawthorns.
Chelsea went to the top of the table with a 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday, one point ahead of Arsenal and two in front of City.
Mourinho has said repeatedly that he views City’s expensive squad as the title favourites but Pellegrini recently pointed out that it is Chelsea who have spent the most money in the last decade and also in last month’s transfer window.
“What I’d like to say is that the other day Pellegrini made some comments about the money we have spent,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“I think he’s a fantastic coach who I respect a lot and on top of that he’s an engineer,” said the Portuguese, referring to the fact the City manager studied engineering at university.
“I don’t think an engineer needs a calculator to work out we sold Juan Mata for 37 million pounds ($60.7 million) last month and Kevin De Bruyne for 18 million.
“That’s 55 million pounds, more or less. We bought Nemanja Matic for 21 million and Mohamed Salah for 11 million. That’s 55 million minus 32 million so Chelsea in this transfer window are at 23 million plus.
“It’s easy to understand that we are working with Financial Fair Play...there are no arguments against that.”
Mourinho, who often provokes and antagonises other managers with barbed comments and memorably said last week that “everything I say or do is mind games”, hinted City were not operating within the same Financial Fair Play guidelines.
“This is what we are doing, others aren’t doing the same,” said the Chelsea manager.
“We are building a team for the next decade if possible and City have a team to win now because they don’t have a team for 10 years.”
Mourinho then turned his attentions to Ivory Coast international Toure who aimed an off-the-ball kick at Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Carrow Road.
Asked about Manchester City’s prospects if Toure was cited by the Football Association on video evidence and subsequently banned, he replied: “I don’t understand why you say ‘if’.
“If you say ‘if’ and he is not suspended the message is clear for all players.
“It means that it doesn’t matter about the cameras, doesn’t matter about the consequences, if the referee doesn’t see it they can do it (but) normally the FA defends football and fair play.”
Mourinho again played down the idea Chelsea were now the championship favourites.
“The last 13 matches are about 39 points and 39 points is an eternity in the league so everything is more than open,” he said.
Former Real Madrid boss Mourinho could not resist taking another swipe at ex-Malaga supremo Pellegrini, a manager he clashed with when both were working in Spain.
“A few weeks ago he said he wanted to win four competitions this season and I see no reason for him to change his speech,” said the Portuguese.
“The only thing that is quite funny is that month after month after month, and this started in Spain, he keeps saying that I never comment on Mourinho and I never answer to Mourinho.
“But he did,” added the Portuguese with a glint in his eye.
($1 = 0.6100 British pounds)
Editing by Ed Osmond