Football: Mourinho hits out at Wenger and Pellegrini

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho speaks during a press conference in Montreal, Canada on July 21, 2015.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho speaks during a press conference in Montreal, Canada on July 21, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (GUARDIAN) - Jose Mourinho has begun the mind games before the Premier League season by taking aim at Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger.

The Chelsea manager questioned why his Manchester City counterpart criticised him for being self-obsessed rather than enjoying his holidays and said anyone who thinks Arsenal are not among the big spenders should "get a calculator".

Mourinho and Wenger face each other in the Community Shield on Sunday and the Chelsea manager firmly believes Wenger's side will be strong challengers for the league title.

He was at pains to point out that Wenger has spent large sums to reach this point, including not far short of £100m on Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers since 2013.

Wenger has signed only the goalkeeper Petr Cech, an £11m buy from Chelsea, this summer but Mourinho said: "If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise. If you put Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Chambers, plus Debuchy, you will find a surprise.

"It's a fantastic squad with good players, fantastic goalkeeper, they are more than ready to be a title contenders. Get a calculator. That is the easiest thing, it leaves no space for speculation. If you want to be honest, objective and pragmatic it is the easiest job for a manager to do."

Mourinho, who leads Chelsea into the final game of their North American tour against Barcelona in Washington DC on Tuesday, also had words regarding Pellegrini.

City's manager conducted an interview in his native Chile last month in which he said Mourinho "wants to take credit for everything" and that "I differ from him on all fronts".

Mourinho was at a loss to explain why Pellegrini was discussing his character instead of relaxing after a mentally exhausting campaign.

"When a manager is on holidays and still thinks about me, I have nothing to say," he said. "I don't know why he did it. In my holidays I did zero interviews. Since I left London, zero.

"Of course I am still thinking about football, yes but I don't do any interviews, at least in that time.

"You are free of everything: questions, answers, controversy, interpretation and overreaction. My holiday time - zero. If other guys use holiday time also for interviews, it's their problem.

"I don't have a theory why. I finished the season, I went on holiday, nothing. To other managers - nothing. So until the first one comes, nothing.

"It is not a battle with the other managers. My team against the other teams, yes. My team in the competition, yes. I am more than ready."

Mourinho said he meant no disrespect in referring to the 61-year-old as "Pellegrino" last season.

"I had a player called Pellegrino and because there were two in football at the same time, one was Mauricio Pellegrino and Mr Manuel Pellegrini … I always made a mistake by calling one the other. The last thing I'd do is show a lack of respect."