Mourinho: It's different for me
9:24am Saturday 22nd March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Jose Mourinho has long had the belief that he is special, but now the Chelsea manager claims he is under more scrutiny than other Barclays Premier League managers as English football praises Arsene Wenger's longevity ahead of his 1,000th match as Arsenal boss.
Mourinho, who introduced himself as 'The Special One' on his arrival in English football in June 2004, and Wenger cross swords for the 11th time at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a contest which could have a significant say on the destination of the title, with Liverpool and Manchester City also in contention.
The Portuguese, who has continually played down Chelsea's title chances, described Wenger as a "specialist in failure" after the Frenchman commented that anyone ruling themselves out of the title race was doing so out of a fear of falling short.
Mourinho's 'bad guy' image was given further credence when he was charged by the Football Association this week for improper conduct in relation to his dismissal by referee Chris Foy towards the end of last Saturday's controversial loss at Aston Villa.
"Look, you see the charges from the last match, and you see that I'm different than anyone else," said Mourinho, whose opposite number Paul Lambert was not charged despite also encroaching on the pitch.
"In the eyes of people, I am different. That, I think, is obvious.
"It's obvious there's a measure for some, there is a measure for me.
"There is a way where I can feel the differences, all the time."
The Portuguese will contest the charge, which could see him hit with a £10,000 fine.
He said: "It can be £1. It's the principle."
Mourinho, who has never lost in 10 previous matches with Wenger and in 75 Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge, stopped short of a glowing tribute to the Arsenal boss on the eve of his landmark game.
"There are many ways of paying tribute," Mourinho said.
"For me to pay tribute is to say that he's in a position where everybody would like to be.
"I love my career and the experiences I've had in my career, but he's in a position where everybody would love to be."
The renewal of hostilities has coincided with an Arsenal renaissance - they are FA Cup favourites after reaching the semi-finals - and Mourinho believes Wenger's men are performing well this term.
"This season they are better than last season," he said.
"Last season, in this moment, they were struggling to finish top four. This season they are safe in a top-four position and in condition to fight for the title."