Pull the udder one, Jose. The Chelsea manager is renowned for talking a good game, but surpassed his own high standards of verbosity as he took chewing the cud to almost literal levels after his side’s first defeat since April.
In the wake of a contest where, in one of football’s more unlikely conspiracy theories, Mourinho bizarrely accused the ball boys of complicity in a concerted effort to waste time in Newcastle’s increasingly desperate efforts to defend their single goal lead, Mourinho was asked if he would encourage a similar course of action at Stamford Bridge, should the title depended on it.
“You may as well put a cow in the middle of the pitch, walking,” he insisted, choosing to underline via bovine parody the fact that he would under no circumstances follow what he claimed were Newcastle’s actions in leaving long periods where there wasn’t actually a ball to play with during six minutes’ added time.
In danger of not so much labouring as milking the point, he added: “If you do that, then you can stop the game, because there is a cow. You can’t do just anything in football. Bring the bus, yes, but the game needs a ball. Do what you can to win, but don’t resort to anything.”
Perhaps. Mourinho has grown accustomed to dissecting defeats at St James’ Park, being yet to win a league game on Tyneside as Chelsea lost for a third consecutive season in front of the Gallowgate.
The rot should have stopped here, but his side wasted a host of first-half chances before Papiss Cisse showed them how it should be done, gratefully forcing the ball home from close range after Gary Cahill allowed Sammy Ameobi’s second-half centre to travel across the face of goal.
Referee Martin Atkinson provided an unlikely assist for Cisse’s second, with a fine advantage which allowed the Senegal international to sweep home Moussa Sissoko’s pass for his seventh goal of the season with 12 minutes remaining.
Didier Drogba beat Jak Alnwick to head in a Cesc Fabregas free-kick, awarded for a foul by Steven Taylor that earned the defender a second yellow card to ensure an epic denouement.
“It felt like they had about 13 men on the field to our 10,” Alan Pardew, who marked his fourth anniversary in charge at St James’ Park with one of his most notable wins, admitted.
Drogba’s forceful header was the only time Alwick, Newcastle’s third-choice keeper making his senior debut as a half-time substitute for the injured Rob Elliot, was found wanting.
The 21-year-old put up a formidable barrier as the hosts just about held out against the relentless tide of late Chelsea attacks, to see the leaders’ advantage over Manchester City to a far from secure-looking three points.
Elliot is due for a scan on a thigh injury today . With first-choice Tim Krul out until mid-January, Alnwick, who set the tone by clattering the streetfighter that is Diego Costa with his first touch in the Premier League, is set for a decent run in the side.
NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1) Elliot 7 (Alnwick 46, 8); Janmaat 8, S Taylor 7, Coloccini 8, Dummett 8; Tiote 7, Colback 9; Cabella 5 (Cisse 54, 8), Sissoko 7, Ameobi 5 (Williamson 83, 7); Perez 8.
CHELSEA (4-2-3-1) Courtois 6; Ivanovic 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 6 (Drogba 67, 7) ; Fabregas 7, Mikel 6; Willian 6 (Luis 67, 5), Hazard 6, Oscar 6 (Schurrle 61, 5); Costa 6.
Referee: Martin Atkinson 7.