Jose Mourinho turned the spotlight on his off-colour Chelsea flops by claiming he was “betrayed” by last night’s dismal display that saw the champions slump to their ninth Premier League defeat of the season as Leicester reclaimed their place at the top of the tree.
Claudio Ranieri’s men were well worth their three points as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’s goals saw Leicester jump two points clear of Arsenal. Mourinho’s men, however, sit just one point above third from bottom Norwich and the Portuguese boss also admitted their hopes of finishing in the top four are now gone.
“We conceded two goals that were unacceptable,” Mourinho said. “One of my best qualities is that I can read the game and identify the strengths of the opponent and tell my players that. (It’s a) big frustration to accept the goals because my work was betrayed, if that is the right word.
“Last season I did phenomenal work, I brought them to a level that they are not really at.”
Chelsea’s woes were compounded by a first-half injury suffered by their Belgium forward Eden Hazard who hobbled off with an apparent hip problem.
“I don’t know what is the injury with Hazard,” admitted Mourinho. “In 10 seconds he made the decision himself. He decided in 10 seconds that he was not fit to go on so it must be serious.
“He goes on the pitch and immediately says I cannot do it. In ten seconds he had three different perspective. He said he needed to come off, then he wanted to come off, then he immediately said that he could not do it.
“Top four is gone now. Clearly”
The mood could hardly have been more different in the Leicester camp, who have lost only once in the league since a defeat at home to Chelsea in April.
“We played a great game and we deserved to win and we have to keep doing that,” man of the match Mahrez told Sky Sports afterwards. “When you keep scoring and make some assists it’s normal to have some confidence.”
Mourinho agreed. “They deserved to win because they were better than us during a longer period of time,” he said. “We were the best team for 20-25 minutes, maybe a maximum of 30 minutes. They were the best team for an hour.”
Victory was sweet for Leicester’s Italian manager Ranieri who was sacked by Chelsea in 2004, a year after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took ownership of the London club. Ranieri had led Chelsea to their highest league placing for 49 years and their first Champions League semi-final, which they lost to AS Monaco, but his reward was the sack.
“We had a fantastic one hour and the last 30 minutes we suffered a lot,” said Ranieri. “But they are the champions and we had to suffer to win the match.
“All the players believe in and help each other. Only in this way can you win against big champions. I told the players we need another five points (to stay up). I put a target of 40 points at the beginning of the season and when we achieve this we change the target.
“I think about how we can improve. They are very, very calm and have to improve a lot.
“It’s a magical time, but we must continue to work hard. I don’t want to wake up, I want to continue to dream with our fans.”