Mourinho's claim that he and his Chelsea team have worked out how to beat United was put to Ferguson yesterday.

"He says a lot of things and maybe doesn't think them through too well," came the curt, almost contemptuous, reply.

"Chelsea have brought in a lot of players, but they have the African Nations Cup to worry about in January, so that's why they've done it.

"They've prepared well for players coming out of contract as well, the likes of Steve Sidwell, Claudio Pizarro and Tal Ben Haim, so that would have started earlier than you think."