Jose Mourinho admits he is “responsible for everything”

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Following Chelsea’s shock 2-1 loss at home to FC Basel, Jose Mourinho accepted responsibility for his side’s performance.

“I am the manager, I am responsible for everything,” he told Sky Sports.

“Especially after a bad result. In the good moments I want everyone to shine, in the bad moments I want everyone to keep calm,” Mourinho said.

“In the next match, we go to Bucharest (in the Champions League), we have to get the points to put us in the Champions League. We don’t want to play in the Europa League.”

MORE: Basel pull Champions League first upset

Playing in the Europa League, the tournament that the West London club won last season, is exactly where Chelsea may find themselves if things don’t tighten up on both sides of the pitch. It’s on Mourinho to make that happen.

Defensively, Chelsea were punished for two schoolboy errors.

The first came when the left side of Chelsea’s midfield left Mohamed Salah, widely known as Basel’s most dangerous player, in acres of space to finish with ease.

The second goal came on an equally regrettable decision, failing to put men on the post during a late corner kick with the score knotted at one apiece. Factor in that Marco Strellar is a 6’4″ beast of a man known for doing damage with his head, and this is inexcusable.

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In 90 minutes of play on Wednesday night, Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o was limited to a single shot.

Offensively, with the exception of Oscar, the Blues were anemic in front of goal.

Few will deny Oscar’s offensive quality. After beginning the match unhitched he quickly sorted himself out to become Chelsea’s most dangerous attacker.

His 45th minute goal was sensational. The lateral run across the top of the box split the Basel defense and his flash turn of the hip and a snap strike was pure class. In the second half it was more of the same when his pull back at the corner of box created the necessary space to launch a curling teaser that kissed the top of the bar.

But aside from the Brazilian playmaker, question marks surround the Chelsea attack, and as Mourinho admitted, he is responsible.

Eden Hazard had one of his worst displays ever in a Chelsea kit. If the rumors were true and the Belgian was carrying an achilles injury then he should have been rested. If he was healthy then it’s time Mourinho put the winger through some intense finishing work. With no goals in the first four Premier League matches and two golden opportunities sailed into the upper stand last night, Hazard’s finishing is becoming an issue.

Mourinho is also responsible for throwing Willian into the fire without blooding him first.

The Brazilian, who was an unused substitute against Everton, looked overwhelmed and was ineffective in his starting role against Basle. Same goes for Marco van Ginkle, who’s touch was poor throughout the match. Why Mourinho thought the two new boys hold would the midfield together better than the established likes of Juan Mata and Jon Obi Mikel is anyone’s guess.

Where Mourinho bears the most blame, however, is up top. Samuel Eto’o failed to register a single shot until injury time and looks a shadow of his former self. Perhaps that’s because at the age of 32, he is just that or, perhaps he too, needs more time to acclimate himself to a new squad.

Either way, having Eto’o lead the line after his numbing performance against Everton last weekend was a head scratcher – almost as much as the Portuguese manager’s decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku in favor of keeping Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.

But for now, in this “bad moment,” we’ll do as Mourinho suggests and stay calm.

Pochettino calls out Xavi for Dele Alli-Man City “lie to lie to lie”

Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
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“He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he’s Barcelona.”

Even half-kidding, the Derby Barceloni is alive and well for longtime Espanyol man Mauricio Pochettino and Barcelona legend Xavi.

At least that’s why the latter is trying to sabotage the former’s Premier League title fight, Pochettino says.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Speaking from his club team in Qatar, Xavi claimed that Manchester City is going to bid high for Spurs’ young star Dele Alli.

Tottenham boss Pochettino says that’s just not true. Pochettino was joking a bit when he answered questions on the topic, but then told a story about Xavi diving for a penalty in the derby. Here are a few of his thoughts, from The Telegraph:

“It wasn’t a penalty but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Barcelona and they won the game. After in the replay it was very funny because it was clear no one touched him. Come on! It goes from lie to lie to lie.”

“He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany.”

Boa Esporte goalkeeper back to prison as murder appeal denied

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The risk clearly wasn’t worth it for Boa Esporte.

The Brazilian club signed Bruno Fernandes de Souza in March, not long after the convicted murderer and goalkeeper was released from prison on appeal.

Fernandes, 32, had been jailed for ordering the murder of a lover, who was fed to dogs by the killer. Boa Esporte lost several big sponsors for signing him, but vocally defended the move.

The owner, Rone Moraes da Costa, said he’d rather move the team than not give Fernandes a chance to revive his career. Fernandes admitted his mistakes but said he wasn’t “a bad guy”.

According to the Associated Press:

“Brazil’s Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to deny an appeal to Boa Esporte goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes de Souza, who was released in March while appealing a 22-year sentence in the 2010 killing of Eliza Samudio.”

So it’s back to jail for Fernandes, and we’ll be waiting with baited breath to hear from Boa Esporte’s owner.

Conte: Chelsea “ready to fight to the end”

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Following Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal win over Spurs and Tuesday’s blowout of Southampton — the 4-2 score line didn’t tell the story of the second half — Antonio Conte is fired up for Chelsea to complete its Premier League title run.

The manager admits that his side was under pressure after Spurs narrowed the table gap to four points last week, but the wins have eased the Blues’ burden.

Chelsea had lost two of four PL matches before the weekend.

From Football.London:

“I think we passed a big, big psychological step after the defeat to United. We lost three points and had to prepare a semi-final against Tottenham and then another tough game in the league. In that moment we had a really important test and our answer was very good.

“We must think that this race is open, we have reached the final of the FA Cup. The situation in the league is totally open. We are ready to fight to the end. We must be proud for the job we are doing and to fight to the end.”

Spurs can bring the gap back to four with a win at Crystal Palace on Tuesday, but have a tougher run-in with five matches to play. As long as the gap is within six points, anything is possible, but the Blues have certainly answered the bell over the past four days.

Chelsea: Big win “feels like a massive step” to title

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“It feels like a massive step to be honest,” said game-changing goal scorer Gary Cahill of Chelsea’s 4-2 win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Chelsea’s Premier League lead stands at seven points after the win, which saw a dominant second half from the hosts.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 4-2 Saints ]

Perhaps it was cued up by Cahill’s first half stoppage time header, which boosted the Blues to a 2-1 lead just before the whistle.

Cahill darted in front of Diego Costa‘s scissor kick attempt to power a header past Fraser Forster.

“(Costa) tried to claim it afterward as well,” Cahill said. “When the ball’s just lofted over, it’s dying to be attacked. We went into halftime with our tails up and it was a big boost for us.”

Cesc Fabregas said Southampton surprised the Blues tactically, leading to an entertaining first half that could’ve seen either side ahead before half.

“We needed a little bit of time to adapt to what they did because we prepared for something else,” he said.

Fabregas said the win was big with second-place Spurs watching at home. Tottenham plays at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

“We needed a good response after the Man United game. We have to keep going with five games to go, to keep it up and make the last push. It would be a big shame if now we relaxed. We just have to push now more than ever,” he said.

“It’s a statement for (Spurs), for us, for everyone, but most of all for us.”
Eden Hazard agreed.
“We scored four beautiful goals,” said the Belgian, who scored the game’s first goal. “It’s good to play before and put pressure on them.”