Stop the mind games, Jose

Stop the mind games, Jose

UNITED KINGDOM - Jose Mourinho is up to his old tricks again.

Instead of tipping his own Chelsea team for the title, instead of praising the league leaders Arsenal, the Portuguese manager has publicly identified Manchester City as the best team in the league and Manuel Pellegrini as the manager under the most pressure.

It certainly cannot be argued that City have a formidable squad of talent available to them.

There are weak spots, notably in goal and at left back, but in every position, there are at least two international players available, many of them decorated and proven at the very top level.

But Mourinho is being mischievous when he said that Pellegrini is under the most pressure because no one is under more pressure than himself.

For all of his spending, City owner Sheikh Mansour has done little to cultivate a reputation as a stereotypical trigger-happy foreign owner.

He gave Mark Hughes, the manager he inherited, over a year to prove himself before making the understandable decision to bring in his own man.

That man, Roberto Mancini, was granted three and a half years and was axed only when it was felt that his abrasive personality was causing problems at the club.

This isn't to say that Pellegrini's position is guaranteed, regardless of results.

But there's certainly no precedent for sudden sackings at the Etihad.

Stamford Bridge, of course, is very different.

Sudden sackings are so frequent at Chelsea that only two managers in 10 years have ever conducted a second successive pre-season campaign.

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