Manchester: Manchester United star Juan Mata believes that his former club Chelsea should still be considered contenders for the English Premier League (EPL) title, despite a poor start to the season.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that the reigning champions will struggle to retain their title after a poor start to the season that has seen them pick up just eight points from as many games, and the former Real Madrid boss insisted that a top-four finish has become their priority.
"Chelsea are in an unusual situation. It is somewhat circumstantial and I do not think it will go on for an extended period of time. They do not have a squad that should have them in that position in the Premier League," Mata was quoted as saying by a Spanish radio station on Wednesday.
"We have seen the gap of 10 points arrive in two months and I think Chelsea will come out of that situation quickly. In fact, I do not rule them out of the title fight," the 27-year-old, who swapped Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford in January last year, said.
Mata spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Blues prior to joining United and said Mourinho, who was in charge for his final season at the club, is just one of many big characters in the game today.
"He is not the most incredible character I have ever encountered in football. There are many characters in football, though perhaps they are not all as well known," the Spain international said.