I realized this after as well watching other interviews of him. I've never seen Mourinho praise another team like that when he had a good squad, so it was definitely self-defence as you say. Especially after bonucci's laughable year last season.He's just saying that out of self-defense. It's all part of his 'woe is me, I have bad players, how am I suppose to compete with Juventus?' narrative, ignoring that he's spent a crap tonne. The players he's signed, for far more than Juventus did, has simply played worse. That's all. How much money has Jose spent on the likes of Bailley and Lindeldof?
Bentancur, who was signed for like 10m, bossed the midfield, while Fred, who was signed for 50m, couldn't get a game.