Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the Premier League title is Jose Mourinho's to lose and believes a "fear of failure" is behind the Chelsea manager's comments.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho responded to comments from Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers about being a "Chihuahua that runs in between the horses' legs" following their dramatic midweek win at Fulham, which cut the gap on the leaders down to four points, by insisting the Reds were in a "privileged position" because of not playing in the Champions League.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has also been drawn into mind games over swipes at his club's spending power as the pressure at the top of the table intensifies.
Wenger, though, does not intend to allow himself to be involved in anything else other than positive rhetoric about his team's championship chances.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger said: "It (title race) is very open, only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it."
Asked why every other manager says they are not contenders, Wenger responded: "It is (because of a) fear to fail."
Wenger maintains his only focus will be on making sure Arsenal can finish above their rivals come May.
"If you're not in the race you cannot lose it, if you declare yourself not in the race you cannot lose it, simple as that," he said.
"I think just that our job is to be ambitious and to try to win, if we do not win to take full responsibility for that. That's as simple as that and that's how I see it.
"I say yes we are in it, yes we will have a go for it, we will absolutely give everything to go for it and if we don't do I will take responsibility for it, but I just see it like that."
Wenger added: "We live in a league and in a country where we have one advantage - everybody can think what he wants, (but) it is very difficult when you're first in the league to distract people."