Jose Mourinho has insisted that he is still confident of Manchester United mounting a title challenge this season following a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.
Man United begun the game brightly at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea eventually took hold of proceedings in midfield and claimed a deserved 1-0 win through Alvaro Morata’s second half header.
The defeat at Stamford Bridge – United’s second of the Premier League season – leaves Mourinho’s men eight points behind leaders Manchester City, who claimed a 3-1 win over Arsenal earlier in the day.
But Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that United were still well placed ahead of other teams to challenge Pep Guardiola’s men for the title.
“We are worried but there are 18 teams more worried,” he said. “Because we are second, so eight points in the Premier League is not the same as eight points in the Portuguese league, La Liga or the Bundesliga.”
“Eight points in the Premier League, there is still a lot to play and I hope, I feel, I wish I wish that in the busy period of late November, December, beginning of January.
“I think probably we are going to be in our maximum strength with Pogba back, Ibra back and Marcos Rojo back, and everybody who is missing in the last months for us.”
As the weeks go by, the Premier League feels more and more like Man City and the rest.
While 19 teams wrestle to rectify various aspects of their game, refining structural issues and searching for their best combination of players, Guardiola’s men are gliding through each game.
But this isn’t to say that anything is over. We remain in November and the Premier League has taught us over the years that no gulf – no glaring difference in quality – is too big to be usurped at the top of the table.
United face Newcastle, Brighton and Watford following the international break and, with Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo set to return, supporters will just pray to see a more upbeat, innovative outfit compared to what we have seen since the October international break.