MANAGERS' DECISIONS UNDER MICROSCOPE

Mourinho insists he's right to drop Oscar, Remy, Falcao; blames loss on defence's errors

Defender Gary Cahill is a picture of disappointment after Chelsea are beaten by Porto. The London club were unrecognisable from the champions of last season.
Defender Gary Cahill is a picture of disappointment after Chelsea are beaten by Porto. The London club were unrecognisable from the champions of last season.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

PORTO • Jose Mourinho insisted that he had no regrets about leaving Oscar, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao back in England and suggested Chelsea's narrow 1-2 loss to Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday was born of "two ridiculous mistakes" in an otherwise sound defensive display.

The Premier League champions slipped to third in Group G, with Mourinho throwing on last season's Player of the Year Eden Hazard - who, along with Nemanja Matic, had been dropped from the starting line-up - in a bid to salvage a draw. His only other attacking introduction from the bench was the 19-year-old winger Kenedy.

Asked if he stood by his choice not to include Remy and Falcao, a former Porto player, Mourinho simply answered "Yes".

He denied that the pair's omission, together with that of Oscar, represented some kind of punishment, given his pre-match assertion that up to six of his players had not displayed adequate "attitude, desire and commitment" in Saturday's draw at Newcastle .

"No punishment, no punishment," he said. "Just a decision."

  • PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS' CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NIGHTMARE IN NUMBERS

  • 1

    Arsenal have lost their opening two games for the first time

  • 5

    Chelsea's defeat on Tuesday means they have lost five of 11 games in all competitions this season - more than in the whole of last term. Then, they lost four of 54 games.

  • 5

    Premier League clubs lost five of their first six group games. In 24 group games last season, England's finest lost only six games.

  • 9

    Only nine teams have progressed from their group after losing their opening two games.

  • 12

    Olympiakos had played 12 matches in England and lost all of them before Tuesday's win at Arsenal.

Instead the manager praised his side's defensive display, despite Porto dominating for long periods and threatening to score many more than their two goals, while acknowledging two errors at corners.

Maicon got what proved to be the winning goal at the Estadio do Dragao after a Willian free kick had cancelled out Andre Andre's opener.

"It was a performance with two ridiculous mistakes," said Mourinho of Chelsea's defending of the corner that produced Maicon's winner and of a later delivery that Danilo headed off the post. "The second goal is a really bad mistake. We watch dozens of repetitions of Porto taking corners - I thought we were completely ready for that."

Mourinho, who coached Porto to Champions League glory in 2004, has now gone back to his old club three times with Chelsea and has yet to win. But of more importance is the defeat in the context of Chelsea's season.

They languish in 15th place in the Premier League and have already lost five of 11 games in all competitions, winning only four times.

"The players reacted in a positive way," added Mourinho of their second-half performance, when Diego Costa hit the woodwork and Chelsea had appeals for a penalty for hand-ball against Ivan Marcano waved away.

Victory was especially sweet for Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas as the former Real Madrid stalwart broke fellow Spaniard Xavi's all-time Champions League record by featuring in his 152nd game in the competition.

"That was our best performance of the season," said Porto coach Julen Lopetegui after seeing his side take 22 shots on goal, six of which found the target.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - BLUES01'. Print Edition | Subscribe