Jose Mourinho left with only ball boys to blame after Newcastle defeat
‘The best team lost. The team which tried to win lost. We were unlucky. But that’s football’
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in a reflective mood at St James’s Park, Newcastle. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Portuguese could only look on in horror as substitute Papiss Cisse struck twice after the break, making Didier Drogba’s late header after defender Steven Taylor had been dismissed irrelevant with the home side holding out for a 2-1 victory.
Mourinho was convinced the Blues should have emerged with at least a point from their visit to to St James’s Park, where he is yet to win a Barclays Premier League game, but his only complaint was about the length of time it took the ball to arrive back on the pitch after it had gone out of play.
He said: “You need one ball. Sometimes we had no balls and other times we had two balls.
“I don’t like to lose because of bad decisions from the referee — but the referee was very good today; I don’t like to lose and blame my players. But that wasn’t the case today. We were just unlucky. They scored only the only two times they crossed the halfway line and scored two strange goals because of rebounds.
“But I am not going to criticise the way Newcastle played. We changed our strategy and played direct and we almost got the point we deserved. We were unlucky, but one day we will be lucky.”
Asked if he believed his issue with the ball-boys and the crowd was a deliberate strategy, Mourinho replied cryptically: “Do you believe in Father Christmas?”
Opposite number Alan Pardew, however, laughed off the suggestion.
He said: “I know Jose has had a little moan about the ball-boys and stuff like that, but I think that’s a bit harsh. But if the ball goes in the stand at Newcastle with six minutes to go, it ain’t coming back, trust me.
“There was a bit of confusion, the ball coming on, we are kicking it away — come on, I don’t think that’s really where we are today. It was an unbelievable performance.”
Cisse, who had replaced Remy Cabella four minutes earlier, fired the home side into a 57th-minute lead after defender Gary Cahill had failed to cut out Sammy Ameobi’s left-wing cross, and then doubled their advantage 12 minutes from time when he converted Moussa Sissoko’s pass after the once-again impressive midfielder had charged at the heart of the Chelsea defence.
Mourinho’s men grabbed a lifeline with seven minutes remaining when, after Taylor had been sent off for a second bookable offence, substitute Drogba glanced a header past debutant keeper Jak Alnwick, who had replaced the injured Rob Elliot at the break. But despite an incessant barrage, the visitors were unable to get back on terms as the 10 men secured a third successive home league win over their illustrious opponents.
Mourinho said: “The best team lost. The team which tried to win lost. We were unlucky. But that’s football.”
Pardew was understandably delighted with a victory which came at some cost with Elliot, who was deputising for the injured Tim Krul, facing several weeks on the sidelines with a torn thigh muscle and skipper Fabricio Coloccini also struggling.
The 53-year-old revealed after the game that 21-year-old Alnwick had headed for his office earlier in the season to discuss his lack of opportunities, and fate now appears to have intervened.
Pardew said: “Jak came to see me before Tim got injured and said that he was really disappointed in my management of him, that the club had let him down because we hadn’t loaned him out — but we couldn’t because he was our third-choice, so we couldn’t put ourselves at risk.
“His contract was up at the end of the year and he felt he hadn’t really been given an opportunity, and he has been proven right, so fair play to him.
“I said to Andy Woodman, our goalkeeping coach, you have to admire him because he isn’t really in a position to bang the door down on me at this stage — I think we’d won four games on the trot.
“But fair play to him.”