Jose Mourinho insists he will fight to stay as Chelsea manager after accusing his players of betraying him in their 2-1 defeat at Premier League leaders Leicester City.
Mourinho told Chelsea’s underachieving stars to be humble as they look to turn around their dismal defence of the English title and claimed he wants to remain in charge.
Chelsea have lost nine of their 16 league games so far this season and sit just one point above the relegation zone, while Leicester climbed back to the top thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
“I feel like my work was betrayed,” said Mourinho.
“I worked four days on this match and prepared everything relating to the opponents.
“I identified four movements where they score almost all their goals.
“My players got all that information but we still conceded the first and the second goals from those movements.”
Mourinho claimed his team’s hopes of a top-four finish are over after they fell 20 points behind Leicester, despite substitute Loic Remy scoring to give them hope with 13 minutes remaining.
Chelsea’s latest flop is certain to bring renewed reports that Mourinho is on the verge of being sacked, but he is determined to oversee a turnaround and urged his players to show humility as they look to change their fortunes.
“The players who are not performing well must for sure feel attacked in their pride and their self esteem,” he said.
“They have to do everything to get results in a humble way.
“The players at this minute cannot feel top players or they are superstars.
“They have to feel ‘I am not the player of the season, not the World champion, not the Premier League champion’.
“The players have to put their feet on the ground and be humble.
“They have to look to the Leicester players and feel these are the top players.
“They have to look to Sunderland and Watford and say we are at the same level as you are.”
Asked whether he believed he would remain in charge, the 52-year-old said: “I want to be, clearly.
“I have no doubt and I am not afraid of a big challenge. I want to stay.
“I hope Mr (owner Roman) Abramovich and the board want me to stay because I want to stay.
“I accept we are around the relegation zone, I don’t accept we are in a relegation battle.”
– Cryptic response –
Mourinho gave a more cryptic response to questions about Eden Hazard, who appeared to ignore his manager’s request to continue when the Belgium midfielder limped off with a first-half injury.
“He made the decision in a few seconds, he was on the floor, he came off, when he went on to try he immediately decided to go back,” said Mourinho.
“I have to believe he is injured.”
In contrast to Chelsea’s troubled title defence, Leicester have lost just once all season in the league and sit two points clear of Arsenal at the summit.
But manager Claudio Ranieri insists reaching 40 points to ensure another season in the top flight remains his only objective.
“For our fans we are top of the league but for my players we need another five points,” he said.
“Now we have Everton and Liverpool away and Manchester City and Bournemouth, who are a fantastic team, at home.
“These are very tough matches. Let me achieve 40 points and then I will think about the next goal.”
And Ranieri dismissed fears that Vardy and Mahrez could leave in January after their superb seasons.
“Nobody can buy them,” he said. “They don’t have the money to buy them.
“I don’t want to put a price on them. For me they don’t have a price.” – Agence France-Presse