Apr 29, 2014

    Jose hits back at Reds' jibe


    CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho taunted Liverpool about their ineffective tactics after his side handed Manchester City the initiative in the English Premier League title race with a victory at Anfield.

    Chelsea's 2-0 success on Sunday effectively means that City, who beat Crystal Palace 2-0, can claim the title by winning their three remaining games.

    Manuel Pellegrini's team trail Liverpool, the leaders, by three points, but they have a match in hand - at home to struggling Aston Villa - and an eight-goal advantage in terms of goal difference.

    Liverpool had been on a run of 11 straight wins prior to facing Chelsea, but the visitors' spoiling tactics successfully prevented the hosts from building momentum, quietening the Anfield crowd.

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who previously worked beneath Mourinho at Chelsea, expressed frustration at his old mentor's tactics, describing them as "defensive" and "not difficult to coach".

    Employing a metaphor about defensive teams introduced to the English football lexicon by Mourinho, he said: "They sat in really deep. There was probably two buses parked today, rather than one."

    The hosts laboured in front of goal, with Chelsea's stand-in goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer called upon to make only two saves of note, and Mourinho boasted that his side had kept Liverpool at bay with ease.

    "Defensive display? I am a bit confused what the media thinks about defensive displays," he told reporters.

    "When a team defend well, you call it a defensive display. When a team defend badly and concede two or three goals, you don't consider it a defensive display.

    "When Liverpool start putting long balls in the area for Mark and (Gary) Cahill and (Branislav) Ivanovic, they were like fish in water, (because it was) so easy for them.

    "The team played brilliantly. Every player was magnificent. No mistakes. I think it was a fantastic performance by my players."

    Although Chelsea are now only two points from the summit with two games to play, Mourinho declared that they have "no chance" of pipping Liverpool and City to the title.

    In any case, his immediate focus will now be on the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Atletico Madrid tomorrow, with the tie in the balance after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

    Rodgers aimed a subtle dig at Mourinho by claiming that Sunday's game was ideal preparation for Liverpool's next fixture, which is against Tony Pulis' well-drilled Crystal Palace.

    Liverpool could fall below both Chelsea and City by the time they take to the field at Selhurst Park on May 5, but Rodgers has urged his players to finish the season with a flourish.

    Said the Northern Irishman, whose side's final game is at home to Newcastle United: "If we finish off the season now, win these two games, we'll finish above them and maybe Manchester City. There's still a way to go. Obviously City now will feel they can go on and win their games.

    "We'll just recover now, we'll focus on the next game, and continue with that positive mentality that we've had throughout the season. That's the reason why we are where we are."

    Pellegrini, meanwhile, cautioned against assuming the title was now City's. He said: "Do we have the advantage? No. But it depends what we can do in the future, that's very important. We have to remain focused on ourselves."