Jose Mourinho has offered a somewhat bizarre defence of Chelsea over the club’s loss to West Brom. The Midlands club ran out 3-0 winners over the Premier League champions on Monday night in a game that took a strange turn when Cesc Fabregas got sent off for kicking the ball towards a group of players.
After the match Mourinho refused to lay any blame at the feet of his players, instead claiming that the fault for the loss was down to Chelsea’s rivals who failed to push them all the way to the end of the season. He said, “I think the top contenders are…guilty because they let us win the title so early”.
He also offered an odd criticism of his own work in the build up to the match, saying, “I have to blame myself. I also lost that salt and pepper you need during the week to work at a high level”.
Mourinho is famed for being a born winner at whatever cost, and it was evident that he was extremely disappointed with the defeat at The Hawthorns to Tony Pulis’s revived West Bromwich Albion side. Yet he wasn’t quite ready to mope around the place. After the game he said, “We are champions. You can’t expect us to go on the bus crying because we lost 3-0. Am I happy because we lose? Of course I’m not happy. Am I sad? No. The ideal scenario would be to be champions, close the shop and go home”.
Mourinho was also critical of the referee Mike Jones, who sent Fabregas off after just 29 minutes. Jones was dealing with an argument between Chelsea striker Diego Costa and the Baggies defender Gareth McCauley in the WBA box. Several players had gathered around them to offer their point of view on the matter at hand whilst Cesc Fabregas waited to take the free kick outside the area.
Whether it was frustration at being made to wait to take the free kick or he was genuinely trying to get the ball to the referee only Fabregas will know, but whatever his reason the Spaniard decided to kick the ball into the crowd of players and it hit West Brom’s Chris Brunt on the head.
Jones quickly brandished a red card and gave Fabregas his marching orders for only the second time in his career in the Premier League. The red angered the Chelsea boss, though, who said, “Where is the danger of the situation? Where is the aggression in the situation to get the red card in a friendly game? I really don’t understand”.
Mourinho continued, “For me, a top referee, a stable, big personality and in control of the game, goes there, two or three words and it’s done. It’s a bizarre red card”.
Mourinho also felt West Brom’s captain Darren Fletcher was lucky to escape the referee’s ire. He said, “I think Fletcher was aggressive, he pushed him [Fabregas] in the chest because he is experienced and knows where he can push for a yellow card. He is much more aggressive than Fabregas”.
Despite his desire to shift the blame for the loss away from himself and his team, as well as his unfair criticism of a referee who was just following the rules, Tony Pulis stated that he thinks his Portuguese counterpart is one of the best in the business. He said, “I’ve managed against him twice now and have managed to beat him twice… He’s been very, very gracious in defeat”.
Chelsea have one game left of the season – a home game against Sunderland – and they’ll have to play it without Cesc Fabregas. Yet given the fact that it’s also the game in which they’ll be presented with the Premier League trophy, Mourinho is unlikely to let Chelsea put on such a limp display as they did against West Brom.