Jose Mourinho questions courage of Chelsea players following Palace defeat
Jose Mourinho wrote off his Chelsea side’s title hopes following the 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and claimed a number of his players lack the 'balls’ to mount a serious title charge.
John Terry’s 51st-minute own goal condemned Mourinho’s side to a second defeat in three league games and cast serious doubt over their title aspirations, even though Manchester City were unable to capitalise fully in the title race as they drew 1-1 at Arsenal in the late kick-off.
Asked to identify what cost his side the game, Mourinho said: “Mentality. And a little bit of quality. Mentality because the opponents beat us clearly on that. Strong, aggressive, committed.
When asked what his team needs, he wrote “balls” on a piece of paper, rather than answer in front of television cameras.
“Clearly we have some players because of their profile who find it difficult to perform in some profile of matches,” Mourinho said. “You have Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill and Azpilicueta perform in the sun, in the rain, small pitches, big pitches, aggressive teams, non-aggressive teams, 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.”
Chelsea’s frustrations spilled over towards the end of the game at Selhurst Park when Mourinho was involved in an altercation with a ball-boy, whom he suggested had been wasting time.
Mourinho said that he thought the result had destroyed his side’s chances of topping the table in May. “We depend too much on other results,” he said. “When you depend a little it’s possible. But when you depend a lot, I don’t think it’s possible. I know mathematically it’s possible, but one thing is mathematic and another is reality.”
Across London at the Emirates Stadium, Arsène Wenger used Chelsea’s plight to claim Arsenal can still, despite their erratic form, challenge for the title.
“What happened to Chelsea just shows we have to keep fighting until the end of the season because it shows everybody can beat everybody,” Wenger said after Mathieu Flamini’s second-half strike levelled David Silva’s 18th-minute effort.
“Mathematically we are still in there but it does not depend just on us. But we have to look above us and behind us as well because they come behind us.
“We will fight until the end. This team has qualities, qualities in the pitch and in attitude.”
Maunel Pellegrini, the City manager, echoed that the race is wide open again. “The [top] four teams have chances in the future to win the title and the four teams will drop points before the end of the season,” he said.
Liverpool could take the lead in the title race with a win at Anfield against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.