Jose Mourinho has said that he is targeting finishing in the top four over actually competing for the Premier League title.
Speaking in the Daily Express, the Portuguese said, “our objective is to finish in a Champions League spot.”
Mourinho has consistently played down Chelsea’s title ambitions this season, whilst consistently insisting that he is building for the future.
“That’s the competitive objective,” continued Mourinho, “because the greater objective is the improvement of the team and preparing the team for the future."
However, Mourinho’s swipe at Manchester City in the run-up to the game between the two sides on Monday points to a wider strategy by the former Real Madrid manager.
It is clear that a top four finish is the bare minimum that he expects from his squad, with the Premier League title being the ultimate objective.
Mourinho has also hinted that he will be sending an attacking team out against the Citizens, in an attempt to end their 100% winning record at home.
"City score goals," he said.
"Normally, when your approach is very defensive, if you concede a goal you are in trouble.
"Or you have to make changes during the game and you never know how the players adapt to it."
"It's not because of one game against certain opponents that we are going to change our philosophy.
"We are going to try to win knowing perfectly we can lose or draw. Our intention is to try to win."
Chelsea will be able to go level on points with Manchester City if they win at the Ethihad on Monday evening.
In such a competitive season, the outcome of that game will be crucial in deciding who wins the Premier League