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Mourinho: Wolves in mix for top four after Podence boost

Jose Mourinho has re-iterated his claim that Wolves are contenders for a Champions League spot this season – because of the signing of Daniel Podence.

Tottenham manager Mourinho believes Portuguese compatriot Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are rivals for a top-four spot in the Premier League, along with surprise packet Sheffield United.

The newly-promoted Blades are fifth, two points below fourth-placed Chelsea and two clear of Mourinho’s Spurs.

Wolves have dropped to ninth, on goal difference behind Manchester United, but six points off the top four, after Everton went seventh with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Nuno regularly insists the table is of no concern to him and he and his players don’t talk about it. Mourinho accepts Nuno and Blades boss Chris Wilder do not publicly consider their clubs contenders for the Champions League, but the Spurs boss claims they are clearly in the mix as the business end of the season approaches.

Wolves and Sheffield United are fighting for the top four, (the managers) can say no – I understand if they say no – but the reality is they are,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

Not just because of the position they are in the table, it is because of the power and quality.

They arrive in this situation wherein the eyes of everybody (else), they should be more than happy – they are not more than happy.”

Wolves bought winger Podence for £16.9m from Olympiacos in January. The Portuguese winger is well known to Spurs as he twice impressed against them in the Champions League group stage, while United broke their transfer record to sign Sander Berge from Genk for around £22m.

Wolves bought an important player to try to improve their situation,” added Mourinho. “Sheffield United bought an important player and beat their record in the market to try to improve their team. It’s not just about Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton. It’s not just about us.”

Mourinho previously said Wolves were contenders for the top four after Tottenham’s last-gasp 2-1 win at Molineux in December.

Podence said in his first interview at Wolves that he wants the club to be competing for a Champions League spot.

But his claims were laughed off by Nuno, who said: “I almost feel like saying we have to forgive Podence because he’s not (been) here.

If you ask one of the players already here for a while, they will not say such things, for sure, because it doesn’t make sense.

You know players when they come, they want to be nice! They want to say nice things.

I remember one team-mate I had at a very small club and he wasn’t aware of anything and he said he wanted to fight to be the champions.

We asked him as team-mates, ‘what are you saying?’ Someone told him to say that to be nice.

I think people have had enough stories of players coming in without saying that.

That’s not the case and it’s not our idea. We don’t compete to achieve a specific situation.

We compete to become better. Now we have to be better because the game is changing, it’s going to be a very tough second half of the season.

We have a lot of competition and some very tough opponents to face so we have to improve, it’s not about going here or there.

It’s about keep competing, keep improving and keep growing as a team.”