Mourinho rules out Chelsea’s Premier League title chances
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has conceded defeat in the Barclays Premier League title race following the 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
A John Terry own goal earned the Eagles a lifeline in their battle against relegation. Chelsea’s concerns are at the top of the table and they have played more games than rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. A second successive away loss saw Mourinho admit his hopes of a third Premier League title are over with six matches to go.
Mourinho said: "We depend too much on other results. When you depend a little it’s possible, when you depend a lot, I don’t think it’s possible. We depend now too much. I don’t think now we can win the league."
Mourinho absolved his defenders – Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta – of blame for the loss to Palace, but was not shy at pointing fingers at others.
Mourinho said: "My four defenders, phenomenal performance, as always. The others I’d prefer not to analyze individually."
Asked what quality is required for his side, Mourinho said: "I cannot say in front of the cameras. I can write it on paper."
Offered a notepad after the media conference, the Portuguese wrote "balls."
He had made his discontent clear.
"We missed some qualities," he said. "Mentality and a little bit of quality. Mentality because the opponents beat us clearly on that. Strong mentality, aggressive, committed. Every one of them played, I think, at the top of their potential and that, in football, is important. Clearly we have some players, because of their profile, who find it difficult to perform in some profile of matches.
"You have Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill and Azpilicueta and they perform in the sun, in the rain, small pitches, big pitches, aggressive teams, non-aggressive teams, possession teams, not possession teams and they perform every game from day one to the last day. And you have other players who are fantastic in some matches and disappear in other matches."
For Mourinho, the disappearing acts have happened in four of Chelsea’s five losses this season, all of which have come away from home. The exception was the defeat at Aston Villa when the Blues boss was unhappy with referee Chris Foy’s performance.
Mourinho claims he was trying to avoid an incident similar to when Eden Hazard was sent-off for kicking a ball-boy at Swansea last season when he approached one of Palace’s ball-boys in stoppage time. The Chelsea boss suggested the boy had been told to return the ball slowly.
Mourinho said: "The kids were doing that all the time, so I went to stop Azpi and I had the chance to get the kid, and the kid was cute. He came to me and I told him if he does this, ‘one day somebody will punch you. But the kids, it’s not their fault. It was not me, for sure (telling the kids to slow it down). I was losing."
Palace boss Tony Pulis danced down the touchline at full-time in celebration of the Eagles’ first league win over Chelsea in nearly 24 years. After fulfilling some of his media commitments, Pulis left his post-match media conference to assistant David Kemp to enjoy a glass of wine.
Kemp said: "Our players have put in a magnificent effort today. They’ve been rightly rewarded and for him to recognise their effort I thought was very good. Jose came and congratulated our players. I thought that was very classy."
Kemp did not dwell on the penalty appeals which went against Palace, but believes the result could have been more convincing, with Cameron Jerome also hitting a post.
"The finishing didn’t match some of the rest of the play, but that’s been our problem for a while," Kemp added. "Fortunately today one was enough and we’re very pleased with it. If we could stick the ball in the net to back it up it could’ve been a bit more comfortable. It’s big for the club and it’s big for the players. When you beat a top team it gives them that little bit more confidence, credibility and belief to go on. It will be very important for this group of players and the club."