The Blues host Steve Bruce's side in Mourinho's return to the Barclays Premier League on Sunday, with the Chelsea boss putting his 60-match unbeaten run in the English top flight to the test.
"I don't like to play against teams that come from the lower division, because when they come they come with a fantastic mentality," Mourinho said.
"They come as winners, they come as a team that week after week is winning matches and winning points. It's different to a team that survives in the Premier League on the last day, they come with a fantastic attitude."
Mourinho gave Manchester United counterpart David Moyes' complaints over the fixture schedule short shrift this week, but his Blues side could go to Old Trafford on August 26 in a healthy position, as they also play Aston Villa next Wednesday.
"It's always a difficult start," Mourinho said. "We have to play two days after against Aston Villa, after that we have to go to Old Trafford, so our start is a very difficult one."
Chelsea won the title in Mourinho's first two seasons in charge - 2004-05 and 2005-06 - before his September 2007 departure.
The first triumph brought Chelsea's first championship in 50 years.
"The first title we didn't start well, we lost against Man City (in October)," Mourinho said.
"We were second. I remember we only came to the top of the league when we won at West Brom and Arsenal played that same fixture.
"The second season we started very, very strong. We have to try to win, but there are people that say that a bad start is better than a good start.
"Of course, I prefer to start good. But the start is difficult."