Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho ruled his side out of the title race after they lost 1-0 at struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday.
An own goal from captain John Terry sent Chelsea on their way to a second consecutive league defeat away from home, stealing all of the momentum from last week’s thrashing of Arsenal.
Palace started the game much better, playing quick, physical football against the sluggish Blues. Many looked to have one eye on the clash with PSG in mid week as they never really got back into the game.
Palace seemed to grow in stature as the contest progressed, with the hosts threatening a few times in the first half. Yannick Bolasie fired wide while Petr Cech was forced in to making a few good saves as Palace bossed the first half. They could have even had a penalty when Gary Cahill went in to Cameron Jerome late in the half.
Oscar’s substitute appearance for the second half did little to get the Blues firing, with Palace still in control of the game. The home side made their pressure count after 53 minutes when John Terry headed the ball past his own keeper under pressure from Joe Ledley.
Eden Hazard would have levelled but for a good save from Julian Speroni, but Palace didn’t stop there and Jason Puncheon shot just wide, while an effort from Jerome hit the post and bounced out. Chelsea pushed for an equaliser but a total of 21 shots and just two on target shows just how close they came to picking up a point.
After the game, Jose Mourinho ruled out his side’s title chances and blamed the defeat on complacency in the squad. “Now it’s impossible to win the title. When you depend a little it’s possible, when you depend a lot I don’t think it is possible. Mathematically it is still possible but one thing is mathematics and another is reality.”
When it came to the result, Mourinho was quite open about what caused the defeat, saying, “Clearly we have some players who because of their profile they find it difficult to perform in some profile of matches.
“You can find things in common with every match we lost this season — to Stoke City, Everton, Newcastle away and at West Brom where we dropped two points.
My four defenders, phenomenal performance, as always. The others I’d prefer not to analyse individually.
“You have Terry, Ivanovic, Cahill and Azpilicueta and they perform in the sun, the rain, small pitches, big pitches, aggressive teams, possession teams. They perform every game from day one to the last day.”
The Blues next game is away to Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday night in the Champions League. Given they are now two points adrift of Liverpool in the Premier League and just two points clear of Man City having played two games more, European glory may be their best hope of silverware this term.
LCN Chelsea player of the match : Branislav Ivanovic