Jose Mourinho on the brink after Chelsea suffer eighth defeat
Published 06/12/2015 | 02:30
Roman Abramovich must have thought it was bad when his club were losing Premier League games to the likes of Liverpool, West Ham and Stoke City but you can only wonder what the billionaire in charge of Chelsea makes of it when his expensive project is beaten 1-0 at home by Bournemouth.
No, that is not a misprint. Another remarkable day in the life of the Premier League, another shocking result for the defending champions and a landmark victory to vindicate the work of one of the finest young managers in England.
Eddie Howe has suffered injuries to key players, and last-minute goals that might have derailed a less robust manager in his rookie season in the top flight but this time he went up against the champions and won.
It was just their third league win of the season, and a stupendous one at that, secured by a header in the 82nd minute by the substitute Glenn Murray after Bournemouth had withstood extreme pressure in the second half.
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Not in the first half though, where they had taken the game to Chelsea and been unfortunate not to score a goal of their own before Jose Mourinho tried to throw everything at them after the break.
Goodness knows he is struggling, and this is the kind of result that could just lose him his job. Chelsea have now lost an extraordinary eight league games this season and Abramovich must wonder if the fourth place that Mourinho believed he could achieve is in anyway a possibility.
They are 17 points behind the unlikely leaders Leicester City and only three points clear of the relegation places and Mourinho was forced to revise his target after the game.
"Our objective is to finish top four," he said. "Before this game it was realistic to think that our quality would take us out of this position, but maybe now we have to think about top six."
The Blues boss thought his side had turned a corner with last Sunday's goalless draw at Tottenham, only to oversee another woeful display. Mourinho was scathing in his criticism of some of his players, although he insisted he was not disappointed with the performance, only the result.
"I explain the inconsistency with unlucky details," he said. "You cannot have bigger details than one penalty that is not given and one goal offside that decides the game. We are always unlucky in these little details.
"But apart from that, inconsistency has also to do with individual inconsistency. With some players, you don't know when they are performing really well and when the performances is below level, it's difficult.
"When you get good momentum and good consecutive results, it's because you have stability in performances. Stability in performances has a big relation with individual performances and we had today again a couple that you need more, you expect more and they don't give enough."
"In the first half we were not aggressive enough. We had a couple of shots and chances, but in the second half we were much more aggressive.
"We had enough chances and more than chances we had a lot of half chances and we couldn't touch the ball, which is disappointing," he added. "If you are in the box, you have to attack the ball and touch. These are big chances that we have to score."
Asked if Costa's introduction had made a positive difference, he said: "We were stronger in the second half but it was not because of Diego - it was the attitude, the intensity, the aggressiveness. We started pressing much higher and sooner.
"I'm concerned and I was concerned before this game. You can imagine now after this defeat at home. Chelsea will never be fighting for relegation - no chance. Chelsea will win matches and come out of that area. That's not the problem. The problem is that our objective is to finish in the top four."
Howe, in contrast, was understandably delighted. "We've believed we're on the right path. You look at our recent games and we've done really well, performed well in several of them but haven't got the wins we feel we've deserved," he said.
"Today was a different kind of performance from us."
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