Jose Mourinho maintains Chelsea were the victims of bad decisions despite winning the Premier League title at a canter this season. The Blues boss felt decisions in matches, resulting in dropped points and player suspensions, were costing his side.
On December 28, after a draw with Southampton when Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving instead of awarded a penalty, Mourinho spoke of a perceived “clear campaign” against Chelsea. He reflected on the emotive choice of words - the reason for his £25,000 fine from the Football Association - a little ruefully on Friday.
“It’s a word which was even the subject of punishment because the word was strong,” he said. “My feeling was that we had lots of mistakes against us, that punished us in crucial matches in a crucial period - November, December, January.
“We were punished a lot. I would take the word ‘campaign’ (out) if the same happened next season.” Mourinho says his champions, who will be presented with the trophy after tomorrow’s final match of the season at home to Sunderland, are a long way from greatness.
“They have to win more to be great. It’s not enough,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho won two Premier League titles in his first spell, the first in 2004/05 which was Chelsea’s first championship in 50 years. Despite his departure in September 2007, the core of the squad he built stayed together to win numerous awards, culminating in the 2012 Champions League triumph.
Mourinho recognises the competition in the Premier League means a successful title defence will be challenging.
“Go to other countries and, if you have a top team, you win,” he said. “Here, in this country, you can finish first or fifth. I’m sure Liverpool were thinking about trying to win the title after being second last year. They finished fifth.
“We were third (in 2013/14). Now we are first. Arsenal were fourth, now they are third. Manchester United were seventh, now they are fourth. Man City first, second."
Mourinho and his players received a “little” bonus for winning the title. Paris St Germain, who advanced in the Champions League on away goals at Chelsea’s expense, received a bonus for beating the Blues.
Mourinho believes rewards should be at appropriate moments. “We have only this bonus to win the titles, which I agree completely,” he added. “It makes no sense to get a bonus for finishing second or get a bonus to reach the Champions League semi-finals or quarter-finals.”
Player of the season Eden Hazard whas played in all 37 of Chelsea’s Premier League matches, but could miss the 38th and last due to undergoing emergency dental surgery to remove three wisdom teeth this week.
Cech is also doubtful for what could be his final match after 11 years as a Chelsea player.
Although the 33-year-old has one year remaining on his contract, he may ask to exit as he has been displaced by Thibaut Courtois as first choice this term.
Arsenal and Manchester United are among the clubs reportedly chasing Cech’s signature, but Mourinho refused to discuss his potential future destination.
Fabregas is suspended following his dismissal in Monday night’s loss at West Brom, but striker Diego Costa is expected to start.
Mourinho has admitted it has been difficult to motivate his players with the title secured.
He wants to finish with a victory against Sunderland, the only team who have beaten him in a Premier League contest at Stamford Bridge.”
“It’s a bit like predators. When they hunt, after that the predator relax a little bit.
“The guys are going to try to do everything to win the match.”
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat will give the Black Cats an answer next Thursday on whether or not he is prepared to stay on as head coach.
The 67-year-old, who was handed just nine games in which to preserve the Black Cats’ Premier League status and did so in eight, confirmed on Friday that he has been made an offer, and that he will respond to it next week.
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