Chelsea not ready to dominate like before - Mourinho

LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho said his Chelsea squad is not strong enough to dominate the Premier League like his side did at the start of his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge in 2004-05.

Then, Mourinho's expensively-assembled squad sealed Chelsea's first title in 50 years with a brand of power football that earned them a Premier League record 95 points.

His return to Stamford Bridge has coincided with a bunching up of England's top clubs, however, and talk of the most open title race for years, with early leaders Arsenal, a rejuvenated Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur all in the mix along with Manchester City and Manchester United.

Chelsea have dropped seven points in their opening six games and are fifth in the table, although their displays in the second half of a 1-1 draw at Tottenham last week, followed by a 4-0 away victory against Steau Bucharest, hinted that the London club were moving through the gears.

While encouraged, the Portuguese said he was not expecting his side, or any other team for that matter, to steam ahead.

"In relation to my team at this moment we are not strong enough to be dominant in every match and win consecutively. That is my point of view," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Norwich City.

"I think the league will be open until the end," he added.

"At this moment some teams are being helped by the fixtures, some are more difficult than others.

"Manchester United have the most difficult one, immediately followed by us. I think by the end of November, that is the moment we will find out somebody is in a little bit better situation than others.

"I think this season can go all the way and I think that is good."

Mourinho will be without striker Fernando Torres at Norwich after his red card at Tottenham although Eden Hazard trained on Friday and could return from an ankle injury.

Despite Torres's absence Mourinho seems to have no regrets about loaning Romelu Lukaku to Everton, for whom he has already scored three goals.

"One thing is to play for Everton, another thing is to play for Chelsea," Mourinho said. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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