Jose Mourinho believes former club Chelsea remain Premier League favourites despite Antonio Conte struggling in some areas, the ongoing Diego Costa debacle and their chastening opening-weekend defeat.
Hope brought by the start of a new season is underpinned by expectation at Stamford Bridge after the Italian led the Blues to the title in his first season at the helm.
Conte’s achievements were all the more impressive given the previous campaign’s atrocious title defence brought Mourinho’s second spell at the Stamford Bridge halt to an unceremonious halt.
But things appear to have gone awry at the start of the current Chelsea manager’s second season, with Costa still on their books, the squad looking patchy in places and a season-opening 3-2 home loss to Burnley.
Things do not get any easier as they head to Wembley to face rivals Tottenham on Sunday, but Manchester United manager Mourinho – who saw his side thrash West Ham 4-0 on the opening weekend – says Conte’s side remain the side to beat.
“For me the favourite is the champion – always,” the United boss said ahead of the trip to Swansea.
“Because for some reason was the champion.
“It doesn’t mean you are going to win it but I think it is the stamp that you have when you are champion, it is that the next season you are the favourite.”
Bad news for Leicester City, who failed to lift the league title last season having been champions in 2015/16.