New Delhi: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for the first time this season admitted that the defending champions might not be able to finish top four in English Premier League (EPL), and fail to qualify for the lucrative UEFA Champions League.
The Blues received yet another bolt in their campaign on Saturday, losing to Bournemouth at Stamford Brigde, thanks to a controversial 82nd minute goal from Glenn Murray, who had just arrived 99 seconds ago as an substitute. The 32-year-old's header seemed to have come from an off-side position.
After the match, Mourinho said finishing top four is their objective, but stated the obvious:
"Before this game it was realistic to think that our quality would take us out of this position but maybe now we have to think about top six."
"I am concerned of course. There is no chance that Chelsea will be fighting relegation," he added.
It was Chelsea's eighth defeat, and having registered only four wins, Mourinho's side are rubbing shoulders with the likes of West Brom, Swansea, Norwich; just above the relegation zone. In fact, Chelsea's 15 points after the end of 15th round is mere three points more than 18th place Sunderland.
But Mourinho seemed to have more concern with a tight penalty decision which didn't come their way. Diego Costa, who was not considered in their previous game at Tottenham, almost forced a penalty after he was tackled by Simon Francis. The Bournmouth skipper, then, seemed to have handled the ball. But referee Mike Jones thought otherwise.
"We didn't deserve to lose. Our opponent - in the period that they thought only of defence - managed to get a goal and there was a clear mistake from the referee. I think it is a clear handball and penalty with the score at 0-0," he complained.
The Portuguese even compared Bournmouth's tactics to a basketball game, and said:
"They played in a way that some call intelligent, some say is not fair play. They were taking time, calling for the medical department and drinking water like it is a basketball timeout."
Chelsea play leaders Leicester on December 15 at King Power Stadium.