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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Manchester United have had all the luck, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has claimed Manchester United have been fortunate in carving out a nine-point Premiership lead and believes "everything is on their side" in terms of lucky breaks in the title race.

Chelsea collected the first trophy of the season on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Carling Cup final. However, it allowed United to extend their Premiership advantage by three points on Saturday with a 2-1 win at Fulham.

Chelsea have 12 matches in which to recover the deficit but their manager has set about planting a seed of doubt in Manchester United heads. "I didn't see the Fulham game to be fair - we were travelling - but the information I have is it was completely undeserved," said Mourinho. "But football is about this. Sometimes you don't deserve it and you win. It's a game they could lose and in the end they win."

Mourinho may have appeared resigned to being disadvantaged by Manchester United's good fortune but he warmed to the theme, even referring to Ryan Giggs's controversial free-kick winner in the Champions League match against Lille. That match also saw Peter Odemwingie put the ball in the net only for the goal to be disallowed for a shove on Manchester United's defender Nemanja Vidic. "They go to the Champions League and have a disallowed goal for the opponent, and their goal is that Giggs' goal," said Mourinho.

"They go to Fulham and it looks like they deserve to lose and they win. They play in Tottenham, it's 0-0 and Cristiano Ronaldo dives, they get a penalty and win 4-0."

Despite evidently considering that Chelsea are due similar luck - and perhaps privately hoping his remarks might make referees administer it - Mourinho believes his players have it in them to force events in their favour.

"We have a match in hand to play," he said. "We have to try to go back to six points. At this moment we're in the last 16 of the Champions League, the last eight of the FA Cup and have won the Carling Cup. In the Premiership all we can do is keep winning and see if the next step is to close the gap or to open the gap."

"If the next step is to open the gap it's very, very difficult. If Chelsea close the gap and we can go from six points to four points, then everything is open."