Jose Mourinho has said he no longer believes it is possible for Chelsea to win the title following Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
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A John Terry own goal on 52 minutes handed the three points to the Blues' relegation-threatened hosts and Mourinho, who has repeatedly played down his side’s title hopes in recent months, said after the match that -- with Manchester City and Liverpool in pursuit -- the result looked to have ended their chances.
“We depend too much on other results,” he said. “When you depend a little, it's possible. When you depend a lot, I don't think it's possible. We depend now too much. I don't think now we can win the league.”
Later, Mourinho absolved his defenders -- Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta -- of blame for the loss, but was not shy at pointing fingers at others, saying: "My four defenders, phenomenal performance, as always. The others I'd prefer not to analyse individually.
"We missed some qualities. Mentality and a little bit of quality. Mentality because the opponents beat us clearly on that. Strong mentality, aggressive, committed. Every one of them played, I think, at the top of their potential and that, in football, is important.
"Clearly we have some players, because of their profile, who find it difficult to perform in some profile of matches. You have Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill and Azpilicueta and they perform in the sun, in the rain, small pitches, big pitches, aggressive teams, non-aggressive teams, possession teams, not possession teams and they perform every game from day one to the last day. And you have other players who are fantastic in some matches and disappear in other matches.''
For Mourinho, the disappearing acts have happened in four of Chelsea's five losses this season, all of which have come away from home. The exception was the defeat at Aston Villa when the Blues boss was unhappy with referee Chris Foy's performance.
Mourinho claims he was trying to avoid an incident similar to when Eden Hazard was sent off for kicking a ball-boy at Swansea last season when he approached one of Palace's ball-boys in stoppage time.
The Chelsea boss suggested the boy had been told to return the ball slowly. Mourinho said: "The kids were doing that all the time, so I went to stop Azpi and I had the chance to get the kid, and the kid was cute.
"He came to me and I told him if he does this, 'one day somebody will punch you'. But the kids, it's not their fault. It was not me, for sure (telling the kids to slow it down). I was losing.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report