Monday 26 February 2018

"Concerned" Jose Mourinho says there is no way Chelsea will be fighting relegation

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says the club won't be fighting relegation
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says the club won't be fighting relegation

Jose Mourinho has admitted he is "concerned" by Chelsea's form and, alarmingly, says a top-six finish is the club's target while dismissing any talk of a relegation battle following defeat at home to Bournemouth today.

"I'm concerned and I was concerned before this game. You can imagine now after this defeat at home," said Mourinho after the 1-0 defeat.

He added: "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."

The Cherries, promoted after winning the Championship last season, inflicted an eighth league defeat of the campaign on the Blues, with Glenn Murray's late header securing a 1-0 win which Eddie Howe lauded as the most significant result in the club's history.

Mourinho felt the Blues should have had a penalty prior to that when a Diego Costa cut-back hit Simon Francis on the arm and also believed referee Mike Jones was wrong to allow the goal, which had a hint of offside.

The loss plunged Chelsea into crisis again and puts Mourinho's position under further scrutiny, two months to the day since he was subject of the first vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich's 12-year ownership.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Asked if he still has the confidence of the club, Mourinho said: "Yes, I believe."

The Portuguese again insisted he had no "right" to demand transfer activity in January.

"The owner and the board are not responsible for the bad moments," he added. "The responsibility for the bad moment is my responsibility and the players' responsibility."

Mourinho also appeared to concede defeat in Chelsea's bid to reach the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

"Our objective is to finish top four," he told Sky Sports. "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."

He later told the post-match media conference: "Let's think about winning the next game and forget targets. To fix targets at this moment with our inconsistency is difficult."

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 his some of his Chelsea players, although he insisted he was not disappointed with the performance, only the result.

"I explain the inconsistency with unlucky details," Mourinho 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."

Mourinho insisted Chelsea did not need a new striker, despite again starting Costa on the bench, but rued missed opportunities which will not register among the official statistics.

"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," Mourinho said.

"If you are in the box, you have to attack the ball and touch. These are big chances that we have to score."

Mourinho has often fallen foul of disciplinary regulations this season and has a suspended one-match stadium ban hanging over him, so refused to go further in his comments on the key decisions.

"It was a penalty and the goal is offside, but the referee made a mistake and the linesman made another mistake," Mourinho added. "That's football."

However, Bournemouth counterpart Howe disagreed with Mourinho's view of Chelsea's penalty appeal.

"I think Simon's committed to his slide," he said. "His arm's there, it's not moved towards the ball. I think that would've been extremely harsh."

On the magnitude of the win for a club who have flirted with extinction, Howe said: "I think it's at the very top.

"We've never been in the Premier League before, so when you come to the champions and beat them, I think it must rank as the best individual result of the club's history."

It meant even more for the Cherries given the injuries to key personnel this season.

"It gives the players some reward for how hard they've worked," Howe added.

"It's only one game but it does give us a huge boost going into the Christmas period."

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