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Sunday 20 May 2018

'There's still a lot to play for' says defiant Mourinho after loss

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Despite falling further adrift of Manchester City after 11 games, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho refused to rule out a title challenge with key players soon to return from injury.

After another loss on his return to Stamford Bridge yesterday, Mourinho said: "We are worried, but there are 18 teams more worried than us.

"Eight points in the Premier League, there is still a lot to play (for).

"I hope, I feel, I think, I wish that in the busy period of late November, December, beginning of January, I think probably we are going to be at our maximum strength, with (Paul) Pogba back, Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Marcus Rojo back. Probably we can be on a high."

There is no love lost between Conte and Mourinho, who preceded the Italian as Chelsea boss.

The pair shook hands pre-match but not at the end of the game.

Conte added: "I think that shaking hands two times is enough."

Mourinho said: "You don't want me to go and to chase him in the middle of the pitch. There is no problem with it at all. You (the media) are always worried with this thing.

Mourinho last month issued a veiled criticism of Conte for "crying" about injuries. Conte could not resist a retort yesterday.

"When you have 24 players in your squad and you have one, two, three injuries, it's not a worry," Conte said.

"The problem is if you don't have 23, 24 players in the squad. It's totally different."

Conte's position has been the subject of scrutiny after a mixed start to his second season as head coach.

He ran on to the pitch to celebrate at full-time, but insisted his reaction was down to the magnitude of the opponent.

He said: "I was very happy because we beat a strong team like Manchester United.

"To have this type of performance and to see this spirit, for sure I'm pleased.

"We have to continue and to understand if there is this spirit, this enthusiasm, this passion, we can fight for something important."

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