Jose Mourinho's Premier League Title Favorite? It's Not Manchester United

With one flick of a forked tongue, Jose Mourinho named his Premier League title favorite and shot a barb at Manchester United's cross-city rival.

Asked whether United was a serious contender to win back the trophy it last held in 2013, Mourinho tiptoed. "I don't think we are big candidates for the title, but we are [candidates]," he said, as reported by The Guardian. "Everybody speaks about the dimension of the investment at Man City, but there is another team that I feel the dimension of their investment is also phenomenal: Tottenham. Until now they spent zero pounds, right? They keep everybody they want to keep. They keep Dele Alli, [Harry] Kane and [Toby] Alderweireld, they keep Eric Dier, they keep everyone they want to keep.

"They sold Kyle Walker, I think, because they wanted to sell. And probably because they think [Kieran] Trippier is as good as Walker. And he's younger than Walker. Chelsea are champions, and they buy now. We are halfway through the market, and they buy [Antonio] Rüdiger, [Tiemoué] Bakayoko and [Álvaro] Morata. So every club makes different kinds of investments, but all of them are investing a lot to win the title."

It's familiar Mourinho: at once easing, or attempting to ease, any expectation on his United squad (while forgetting about the dimension of a £75 million investment in Romelu Lukaku); ladling pressure on to a younger, more inexperienced team; and subtly mocking City's decision to spend £50 million on Walker, a player whom Tottenham believed was expendable. Mourinho even threw in the name of Dier, the midfielder who was reportedly one of his top transfer targets this summer.

Perhaps the comments were also another nudge for United's executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, to sign some more checks. Mourinho still hasn't got the midfielder he wants, or the left winger either, with negotiations for Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic still dragging on.

Mourinho remains a master at putting multiple groups of people on notice in a few pithy sentences, though he will ultimately be judged by United's performances in 2017-18—starting with the Premier League opener against West Ham on August 13. Mourinho's words won't really fool anyone. In his second season at Old Trafford, the pressure is on.