"I think, a few years ago, the better teams were better," he said. "You think United won the Premier League last year because they were an unbelievable team? I don't think. The other contenders didn't have a very good season. The same the year before when City won the title … I think the champions, in other seasons, were magnificent. And especially in the last two seasons, I've felt no, the champions were champions as a consequence of many things, not because they were phenomenal."
Seasoned Mourinho-watchers will no doubt try to find the hidden message in these words. Was he having a pop at auld enemies such as Arsene Wenger, Rafa Benitez and Roberto Mancini? Was he getting his excuses in early in case Chelsea don't race out of the blocks as quickly as some suggest they will?
Then again. sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
And Mourinho was speaking the truth. The top end of the Premier League hasn't been particularly good over the last two years, though some might not have noticed amidst the hype, the announcements of marketing deals and record TV contracts and the fans who voted the season before last "the greatest ever".
Throw in the fact that three of last year's top four haven't really made any significant signings and the fact that two of last season's top three individual stars supposedly want out (as does the second-highest paid player for the defending champions) and some might say there's plenty of room for improvement.
And that may be the best news of all for Mourinho, whose Chelsea side make their debut today at home to Hull. There's no juggernaut to unseat, no giants to slay. Just a bunch of construction sites, several of them with hard-hatted newcomers in charge.
Against this backdrop, for all the reservations and caveats surrounding Mourinho and Chelsea, you can see why so many have them as favourites. With question marks and uncertainty everywhere, the guys who have slightly fewer unknowns may well be in the driving seat.
Luis Suarez showed up at Anfield ahead of Liverpool's 1-0 opening day win over Stoke City yesterday with his daughter in his arms, smiling and waving to fans. The club made sure we all knew that he had "apologised" to his team-mates.
And Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said: "He's been brilliant for the club - obviously there have been issues over the summer - but I'm sure they'll be resolved."
OK, so that's that, then. Nothing to see here, move along.
It would be nice to know what exactly Suarez apologised for. If he genuinely thought (or thinks) there is a clause in his contract that allows him to leave if someone bids more than £40 million and he believes Liverpool are unfairly forcing him to stay, there's nothing for him to apologise for.
If he's making all this up and simply wants to go to a better team and earn more money and play in the Champions' League, then, odds are, many of his team-mates either share those sentiments or have shared them at some point. And, unless they're hypocrites, they don't begrudge him it.
More to the point, how heartfelt can an apology be when you are both forced to apologise and, in any case, don't feel you've done much wrong in the first place?
If you're a Liverpool fan, you only hope the club know what they're doing. Suarez apparently has taken this whole apology business well, possibly because he knows full well he still has a ban hanging over him and won't be playing (for the Reds or anyone else for that matter) until mid-September. And by that point, the transfer window will have closed and it will all be a moot point.
His recent past suggests that he's enough of a professional to not hold grudges and give his all.
And perhaps that's precisely what Rodgers is banking on. But as the transfer deadline inches closer, there is plenty potential for things to get testy again.
And if that happens what's Rodgers going to do? Make him say sorry again?
La Liga kicked off yesterday with both the traditional heavyweights still very much works in progress, with new managers at the helm. Barcelona equalled the league points record last season, but it's been a stormy summer for them, culminating in manager Tito Vilanova stepping down after a setback in his cancer treatment. His replacement, Gerardo "Tata" Martino, is a newcomer to the European game. The good news is Barca have added Neymar to their array of stars; the bad news is they still look undermanned at the back.
And while the extreme possession of the Pep-Tito Era (and a younger, fitter Carles Puyol) might have papered over defensive cracks in the past, there is no guarantee it will work the same way under Martino.
Over at the Bernabeu, while president Florentino Perez is dreaming dreams of Gareth Bale, incoming manager Carlo Ancelotti has to cope with having just two legitimate strikers, the mis-firing (in recent seasons) Karim Benzema and the inexperienced Alvaro Morata. Bale would be another in-betweener, another attacking midfielder in a group already including Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Mesut Ozil, Kaka, Angel Di Maria and Luka Modric.
His solution thus far has been to play Ronaldo alongside Benzema up front, which is rather "retro" and, in the long-term unworkable. What Real Madrid really need is a legitimate striker to replace the departed Gonzalo Higuain. But apparently none of the strikers available are "Galactico" enough for Perez. So Ancelotti has to make do and find a solution, which is pretty much how he has built his entire career: work with what they give you and be nice to everyone.
Given the departures at most of the other possible contenders, from Atletico Madrid to Valencia and from Seville to Real Sociedad (not to mention Malaga), it's unlikely this will be anything but a two-horse race. But where it could have an impact is in Europe. If they don't achieve some balance, erasing the memory of last season's humiliation at German hands might be tough.