Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confessed that not everything he says in the Premier League title run-in will be the truth.
"Everything I say and do [is a] mind [game]. The only thing that is not mind games are the results," he told reporters on Friday.
Mourinho fooled no-one on Monday when he ruled his team out of title contention after masterminding a 1-0 win at free-scoring Manchester City that left his team two points behind leaders Arsenal.
The Portuguese coach had a glint in his eye when he described his side as "a little horse that needed milk" in a race with the "two big horses" of Arsenal and second-placed City.
His stance has now softened because Mourinho acknowledged that Chelsea could land the crown in May although he maintained they were outsiders.
"I'm not saying we're not going to win. I'm saying we are candidates, we're outsiders," he said on the eve of Saturday's home league game with Newcastle United.
"It's not the moment to lose players, it's the moment to try to have them all" - Jose Mourinho
"We are not a squad like Man City's with every player in the best moment of their careers of the age of stability between 25 and their 30s, all of them working together for a long time, a manager [Manuel Pellegrini] that arrived and the team was there ready for him.
"We are different. We are beginning. Of course we dream to win the Premier League and if we have the chance to win we're not going to say we don't want to but we don't have the same responsibilities."
Mourinho said new signing Mohamed Salah would make his debut on Saturday after joining from Basel in the January transfer window.
Fernando Torres will miss out, however, as Mourinho is not prepared to risk the striker who has been out of action for three weeks with a knee injury.
"He is almost there but not there," Mourinho said. "If it was the last game of the season I'd say 'let's go and do it' but there's no point to risk him now.
"It's not the moment to lose players, it's the moment to try to have them all. Tuesday [away to West Bromwich Albion] is a better possibility."
Mourinho continued his mischief-making by taunting Saturday's opponents over their failure to recruit a replacement for influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye who left the club in January to join Paris St Germain.
"Cabaye is one of the best midfielders we had in the Premier League and they did not replace him," Mourinho said. "But they have a good team and they know they can beat us. Alan [Pardew] is a good coach and I think it's a difficult game."