Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Manchester City’s fixture pile-up has made them favourites for the Premier League title.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side find themselves in the FA Cup quarter-finals, Capital One Cup final, Champions League last-16 stage within the next month, plus a yet-to-be-arranged Premier League clash with Sunderland.
The game against the Black Cats was postponed during the week, while an upcoming visit of Aston Villa will also be re-arranged due to FA Cup commitments – and Mourinho says playing catch up is beneficial to City.
“What affects the Premier League is the change of the fixtures,” Mourinho told reporters. “City play later after the other teams fighting for the title play, so it is easier.
“They know somebody lost, somebody won, they lost two points, one point is enough for us. That is obviously an advantage.
“But it’s not their fault. It’s the weather, the fixtures, the FA, the Premier League, so it’s not their fault.”
When asked if Chelsea could win their games to reverse the pressure on to Pellegrini’s men, he replied: “Leave us in peace. It’s not for us. We have to try to win the next game and it’s not our fight.”
City’s increased schedule comes following a 2-0 win over Mourinho’s Chelsea in the FA Cup, and the Portuguese admitted playing Pellegrini’s charges just 12 days after beating them was a challenge.
“It’s always difficult to play two matches in a row against the same team,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for a team to win consecutively the two matches. You come in at the top of your game, the top of your concentration, the top of your intensity and you win the game.
“For the winner it’s difficult to be back where he reached the top and the loser has time to assimilate the defeat and to create a certain spirit.”