By Chris Hatherall
COBHAM, England, Apr 7 (Reuters) Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was more concerned today about the first case of bird flu to hit Britain than the pressure building up on his team to secure their second successive Premier League title.
''Pressure? No. For me, pressure is bird flu,'' the Portuguese joked during a news conference.
''I'm serious. I'm feeling a lot of pressure with the swan in Scotland. You are laughing but I'm serious, it's not far. I am more scared of the swan than football. What is football compared to life? Yesterday it was confirmed that a wild swan found dead in Scotland had the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu. The discovery of the virulent strain in the swan made Britain the 14th country in the European Union to find the disease on its territory.
Bird flu has been blamed for more than 100 human deaths elsewhere since 2003.
''If we win our matches at home we are champions so our situation is a very good situation,'' said Mourinho.
''For me the swan is the drama of the last two days. Maybe I have to buy some masks or something.'' Chelsea led second-placed Manchester United by 15 points a month ago, albeit having played one game more, but the champions are now only seven clear.
His team dropped five points over the last few weeks after losing to Fulham and drawing at Birmingham.
He was also determined to clear up rumours about a supposed move to Italy at the end of the season.
Mourinho has been linked with a switch to Inter Milan amid suggestions he has fallen out with chief executive Peter Kenyon and the Chelsea board.
''I think this is a good opportunity to say again - again - that I have a contract until 2010,'' the Portuguese told reporters at the club's Cobham training ground.
''We are preparing the next season, I don't believe the club is preparing the next season with me if they think I am not here next season.
''I want to stay, they want me to stay and I don't want to leave.
''What I realise sometimes is I have to be careful what I say. For example when I said two years ago that after Chelsea I would like to go to Italy, they reported this as if I said it last week.
''When I said I wanted to be Portuguese manager one day, then maybe when (Luiz Felipe) Scolari leaves people will say it's me.
But it's not for me. It's for me in 20 years time, it's not for me now.'' REUTERS PDS BS2156