Everbody knows Chelsea are one of the best teams in Europe. They have won the Champions League and Europa League in the last two seasons, so they are used to playing these important games," said the Italian.
“It’s funny,” he said. “It’s funny because my team had Lucio, [Thiago] Motta, [Diego] Milito, [Samuel] Eto’o, [Goran] Pandev and [Wesley] Sneijder. From 11 players, he didn’t work with six of them. So he made a five-a-side team because I played with only five players from his team.”
Mourinho believes that he is engaged in a similar process of rebuilding and renovation this year, although Mancini smiled knowingly when it was put to him that Chelsea, in the eyes of their manager at least, are only “young horses”.
Mancini also made a blatant attempt to pile all the pressure back on to Mourinho’s Chelsea.
“We are young,” said Mancini. “Everyone knows Chelsea are one of the best teams in Europe. They won the Europa League last year and the Champions League the year before. They are top of the Barclays Premier League. They have really good players. I think they are 80 per cent to go through.”
Should that happen, it would take Mourinho to the brink of reaching the semi-final or better in the Champions League for the eighth time in his 10 seasons managing in the competition.
Mancini also has extensive experience in the Champions League with Lazio, Inter and then Manchester City but has progressed only once to the quarter-finals, where Inter lost to Manuel Pellegrini’s Villarreal in 2006.
"It is clear that it will be very difficult for us, but we want to play a good game at home if possible.
"We went through in a difficult group with Real Madrid and Juventus and I think it was a miracle. Now we are here and I don't know if we can do another miracle but we want to try. In football never say never."
Turkish champions Galatasaray progressed from Group B, which also contained Danish side FC Copenhagen, after a 1-0 home win against Italian champions Juventus in December.
Mancini's side are second in the Turkish Super Lig, four points behind leaders Fenerbahce, after a 1-0 victory over Istanbul rivals Besiktas on Saturday.
'For two years, we were the best team in the Premier League. All these top players that are in City now I bought: Nasri, Yaya [Toure], Silva, Aguero, Dzeko.'
In November 2012, Mourinho mocked City's elimination from the Champions League at the group stage, claiming he was lucky to still be in a job after another failure.
Mourinho, then Real Madrid manager, said: 'It is good that it is City eliminated because Roberto can work without any problems, because if it was Madrid the press would not let me return to Madrid!
'When you look at the array of players they have it is amazing that they have been eliminated at the group stage for two years running.'
Mourinho reckons Mancini must have got his numbers wrong.
As yet another war of words erupted around Chelsea’s controversial manager, this time it was Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini who was his target.
Chelsea face the Turkish champions tomorrow night here in Istanbul in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, and the two old rivals could not resist a dig at each other.
Mourinho is aiming for his third Champions League title, having won with Porto and Inter Milan. It is his victory with Inter in 2010 that Mancini claims some of the credit for, as the Portuguese had succeeded him as manager at the San Siro in 2008.TOUGH: Mancini reckons Chelsea are favourites for the Champions League tie.
“He must have made up a five-a-side team because I played with only five of his players in my team.”
Mancini reckons his current Galatasaray team have just a 20 per cent chance of going through against Chelsea.
The former Manchester City manager said: “Chelsea are a young team, like we are, but they are top of the Premier League because they have good players. That is the reason. They are 80 per cent likely to go through.”
A healthy first-leg lead might improve Mourinho’s mood after a difficult week in which he attacked the “disgraceful” leaking of his off-guard comments about Samuel Eto’o and his goal-shy strikers.
Mourinho was angered and embarrassed when what Chelsea insist were “private, jocular and off-the-record” comments he made last week about his strikers at a sponsorship launch in Switzerland were broadcast by a French TV network.
And last night Mourinho, still clearly angry, said: “People should be embarrassed as a media professionals. Of course it was not a happy comment, but from the ethical point of view it’s a disgrace.
“I’m not defending what I said. But my comment was obviously not one I would do in a serious way or an official way. I don’t make fun of anyone, because I’m a manager who defends his players; and because Samuel Eto’o is four times a Champions League winner.”