Jose Mourinho says Chelsea are in a “good position” ahead of his much-anticipated return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Mourinho takes his Manchester United side to west London on the back of a 4-1 Europa League victory over Fenerbahce on Thursday.
The win was a welcome relief following United’s performance in a 0-0 draw at Liverpool, which prompted further suggestions Mourinho’s defensive tactics are not worthy of the club’s rich history of attacking football.
And with Chelsea also failing to truly convince under new coach Antonio Conte, Sunday’s game brings extra significance, with the winner set to claim a significant psychological advantage as they look to chase down early pacesetters Manchester City and Tottenham.
Asked to assess Chelsea’s start, Mourinho said: “I don’t have to analyse their start to the season but you look at the table and you see where they are and they are in a good position.
“So the start of the season cannot be bad if they are where they are.”
Mourinho won two Premier League crowns at Chelsea before being sacked in September 2007. He returned in June 2013, again making Chelsea the champions, before being dismissed for a second time last December.
On returning to his old club, he added: “I knew that working in England, staying in the Premier League, I knew that sooner or later I had to play against Chelsea and I had to go to Stamford Bridge and the computer has decided that it is now. Here we go.”
Sunday will be the second time Mourinho has managed a visiting team at Chelsea. On the first occasion, his Inter side won 1-0 in March 2010 – Samuel Eto’o netting the only goal – to complete a 3-1 aggregate success in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Before that game, he claimed he had always been “lucky” at Stamford Bridge, but, following his mixed second spell, the Portuguese admitted that was no longer the case.
“When I played there, with Inter … before that I had never lost a match at Stamford Bridge because I had that home record,” he added. “Now I lost already a few matches at the Bridge.
“Last season I lost two or three games so I cannot use the same words.”