José Mourinho says Chelsea have lost their chance to finish first

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Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace beat Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday, thanks to an own goal by John Terry. Depending on the weekend’s other results, Chelsea could slip down to third place by the time Sunday evening rolls around.

The game’s only goal may have been gifted, but that doesn’t mean Palace didn’t deserve their victory. The hosts were strong in defense, keeping Chelsea at bay, and even after taking the lead continued to hit the opposition hard with fast breaks. Crystal Palace could very well have finished with at least another goal, possibly two.

(READ MORE: CRYSTAL PALACE BEAT CHELSEA)

As you might imagine, José Mourinho certainly had a few words to say about his side’s defeat. “Crystal Palace deserved the victory, they fought for their lives. We had good chances and their goalkeeper made some good saves in the first half. But their spirit was stronger, their desire was stronger and their commitment was stronger. That disappoints me, but it’s a defeat that we can only blame ourselves for.”

The Blues’ boss went on, lashing out at his players a bit. “Some of our players are not comfortable in these types of matches, like Stoke away, Newcastle away and Everton away. Can I change this? I don’t know. My defenders are phenomenal, but in other positions we have players that can be in trouble.”

It seems as though the tactician is saying that some of his players lack a certain toughness, that they’re able to be bullied around by sides that play a more physical game. Those players, he implies, will need to step it up – or perhaps risk losing their spot at Chelsea.

But it may be too late to succeed this season. After the loss, Mourinho said, “Now we have lost our chance of finishing first. Now we depend too much on other results.”

He might have a point. Should Manchester City beat Arsenal, they’ll go top, with two games in hand. Liverpool can retake first with a win over Spurs on Sunday.

However, with the exception of a date with Liverpool at the end of April, Chelsea’s remaining games are all against sides in the bottom half of the table. It’s quite feasible that the Blues could still gain ground. So is this yet another mind game from Mourinho? A way to motivate his players? A statement born of frustration?

Or does José Mourinho really believe Chelsea’s title challenge is finished?

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Agent Jorge Mendes appears before judge in Falcao tax probe

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MADRID (AP) Football agent Jorge Mendes has told a Spanish judge that he had no involvement in the financial planning of client Radamel Falcao, who has been accused by a state prosecutor of tax fraud.

Mendes, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, appeared before a judge in a Madrid court for 45 minutes on Tuesday as part of the probe into whether there are grounds for the case against Falcao to go to trial.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Mendes’ agency, Gestifute, released a statement saying that “neither he nor his employees have ever intervened in the creation of corporate structures for his clients and much less provided any tax advice to them.”

Last month, a state prosecutor accused Falcao of defrauding Spain’s Tax Office of around $6 million from 2012-13. The alleged unpaid taxes were from money the Colombian player made from endorsement deals through image rights, not from the salary he was then being paid from club Atletico Madrid. Falcao now plays for Monaco.

Arfield, Adekugbe on Canada’s Gold Cup roster

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Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield and on-loan Brighton defender Samuel Adekugbe are among the players who will represent Canada in this summer’s Gold Cup.

Arfield, 28, was born in Scotland and earned the first of seven Canada caps in 2016, and Adekugbe returns to Vancouver from a year-long loan to Brighton and Hove Albion on June 30.

The pair join nine MLS players, two NASL player, and a USL player, with the rest of the group based outside North America.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Notably, Orlando City players Will Johnson and Cyle Larin were not called up by coach Octavio Zambrano.

Goalkeepers: Maxime Crepeau (Montreal), Milan Borjan (MKS Korona Kielce), Jayson Leutwiler (Shrewsbury Town)

Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe (Brighton and Hove Albion), Fraser Aird, Manjrekar James (Vasas Budapest), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos), Adam Straith (FC Edmonton), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk), Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Midfielders: Scott Arfield (Burnley), Patrice Bernier (Montreal), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto), Michael Petrasso (QPR), Samuel Piette (CD Izarra), Russell Teibert (Vancouver)

Forwards: Lucas Cavallini (CA Penarol), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto)