The Spaniard’s Manchester City were handled at home for the first time this term by Chelsea on Monday, outdone by the Portuguese tactician and his band of Blues.
Mourinho was in classic form in the build-up, touting City’s ability to let loose a thorough beating on his men.
A master manipulator, a specialist at mind games he’s always been known to be, and victory didn’t stop the Chelsea manager there – assessing his side as the “little horse” to the stallion stature of Arsenal and the club they’d just overcome.
And Negredo isn’t keen to take what the 51-year-old is saying at face value, with respect to he and his team-mates, at least.
“He’s throwing balls out,” the summer capture from Sevilla told reporters. “A week ago he said we weren’t favourites and now he says we are.
“The favourite right now is Arsenal and we still have to play against them.
“We must do our best unitl the end of the season and then we will see who is best.”
In truth, Mourinho’s misdirection is nothing more than posturing – an attempt to take the pressure off of his charges, something he’s quite adept at.
Of course, Negredo is only looking to do the same, even if he lacks the podium from which to proffer from that the Portuguese constantly seeks to use to his advantage.
With Arsenal still at the summit of the table, it’s perfectly viable for the two to do so – teams don’t like being called favourites, it invites expectations of success and plays on their mentality.
Don’t expect Mourinho to stop, even if Chelsea hit the summit of the standings, the mental side of being at the helm is woven into his philosophy and certainly more metaphors are on the way ahead of May.
Because even if players like Negredo aren’t buying what he’s selling, it clearly causes them to stop and consider, if only for a moment, the gravity of competing for the title.