JOSE Mourinho oozed irony as he hailed referee Mike Dean and referees’ boss Mike Riley for “unbelievable” performances in the wake of Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League title-threatening 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland.
Chelsea 1 - 2 Sunderland
SCORERS: Chelsea; Eto’o 12, Sunderland; Wickham 18; Borini 82 pen
The Chelsea boss refused to field questions from the media in the wake of his first-ever home defeat in the Premier League.
Mourinho instead offered “four quick points” in reaction to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge loss, where goals from Conor Wickham and Fabio Borini sank the Blues.
Basement club Sunderland followed up their 2-2 midweek draw at Manchester City with a stubborn victory in west London, Wickham firing his third goal of the week.
Defeat left Chelsea boss Mourinho fuming with the award of the pivotal Borini penalty, but keen to veil his rebukes in the form of false praise. The 51-year-old Chelsea boss made his feelings clear, albeit in roundabout fashion. “I will not wait for your questions, I’m so sorry about it,” said Mourinho. “But in four quick points I can say everything I want to say, so we are not going to waste time, because every question you can ask me I will answer exactly the same way. So we stick with four quick points. The first point is to congratulate my players – they did everything they could, they fought, they played from the first to the last second. And I think they deserve that. Sometimes we praise the players when we win, I think it’s fair to praise my players after a defeat. Secondly, congratulations to Sunderland, it doesn’t matter how or why, or in which way they won, but they won, and it’s three fantastic points for them. So I think it’s also fair to congratulate them. The third point, I want to congratulate again, but this time is Mike Dean. I think his performance was unbelievable, and I think when referees they have unbelievable performances I think it’s fair also that managers we give them this.
“So fantastic performance, he came here with one objective, the objective of making a fantastic performance and he did that. And fourth, I think it’s also fair, congratulations to Mike Riley, because he’s the referees’ boss, and what they are doing during the whole season is fantastic, especially in the last couple of months, especially in matches involving the teams that were in the title race, it’s absolutely fantastic. And I also congratulate Mr Mike Riley, thank you.”
Chelsea’s defeat hands the league title initiative to Liverpool, who can scramble five points clear of the Blues at the top of the table with victory at Norwich today.
Chelsea assistant coach Rui Faria was sent to the stands by referee Dean for overzealous abuse of fourth official Philip Dowd during the second half.
Faria had to be pulled back from Dowd by Mourinho who, at one point, grabbed his assistant’s hair.
Chelsea’s backroom staff member was clearly incensed by the decision to award a penalty against Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta for felling USA international Jozy Altidore.
Sunderland striker Borini’s cool finish sealed a priceless victory for the Black Cats, who retain hope of beating relegation. Chelsea had gone ahead early on through Samuel Eto’o but Wickham levelled in the 18th minute from the rebound following Marcos Alonso’s long-range effort.
Mourinho’s unbeaten run came to an end in the 82nd minute when Borini scored from the spot after Azpilicueta brought down Altidore in the box.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet believes the “special” victory can inspire his team to avoid the drop, admitting Borini’s penalty could be the title race’s “key moment”.
“I never, ever would have expected to get a penalty here, but I think it was fair. I would have reacted the same [as Mourinho] if it was against my team – it could be the key moment for the title.
“But I understand, if it was against me and I lost a penalty I would be fuming for sure.”