London: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has lashed out at critics for showing disrespect towards his players after their loss to Stoke City in a League Cup match.
Chelsea -- the defending champions -- were knocked out of the tournament after losing 5-4 on penalties with the teams locked 1-1 after extra-time. It was the latest setback for Chelsea who are currently stuck at 15th place in the English Premier League (EPL) table.
Mourinho, however, insisted that his players displayed plenty of grit and character during Tuesday's defeat.
"What some people write and say is really bad for the players. What the players did tonight is face some people that write and speak, and said: You are stupid'," the 52-year-old was quoted as saying by the Mirror.
"Maybe they think my players are like them when they were players. My players don't do that, they tried everything," he added. "If anyone saw the second half the other day, playing with 10 men the way they did, it's a lack of respect for the players."
The former Real Madrid manager asserted that Chelsea played much better than the results suggest and the feeling in the dressing room is one of complete frustration.
"It's difficult. It's more difficult when you play bad and lose than play well and lose. We go with sadness but a positive feeling," Mourinho remarked. "We played so well. This first half could finish the game at half-time. Then second half, goal, and they keep going."
"A few months ago I won a few matches and I was champion. People were saying there are things more important than results. Now, people say results are the most important thing. It's a contradiction."