English Premiership

Blues' stutter worries Mourinho

2015-03-15 20:24
Jose Mourinho. (File AFP)

London - Chelsea's disappointing 1-1 home draw with Southampton on Sunday could mean the Premier League title battle is no longer a two-horse race, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

It has appeared for months that the championship crown would go to leaders Chelsea or second-placed Manchester City but Mourinho believes it would be unwise to rule out teams like Arsenal and Manchester United.

"I agree that Chelsea not winning at home is not a good result but we had a five-point lead before the match and afterwards we have a six-point lead," the Portuguese told reporters at Stamford Bridge.

"I'm happy with the situation and the six-point lead but not happy with the result. There is a danger of more teams being in the title race."

Third-placed Arsenal are seven points off the pace while United, in fourth, trail by eight points although Chelsea have a game in hand on all three of their rivals.

Chelsea grabbed the lead with an early header from Diego Costa before Southampton deservedly equalised in the 19th minute thanks to a Dusan Tadic penalty.

The visitors gained in belief after drawing level and could easily have gone in front by halftime with the tricky Sadio Mane a constant threat.

Chelsea, though, were much improved after the break and only a string of fine saves by the excellent Fraser Forster kept them at bay.

"The result is positive rather than negative," said Mourinho.

"The performance until the penalty, the team was stable and was playing not amazingly well but with control.

"Towards the end of the first half we lost control."

Mourinho said his decision to bring on Brazilian Ramires for Nemanja Matic early in the second half to shore up the midfield was vindicated.

"Ramires improved the team," he added.

"He gave complete stability and we had control over their counter attacks.

"After that they stayed back. We deserved to score. The team needed stability to perform again and Ramires brought that stability.

"We created lots of chances in the second half to win the game. We were unlucky we couldn't score.

"I didn't like the moments after the penalty, the remaining minutes of the first half. When you are winning 1-0 you are on top, then they get a penalty and the opponent gets confidence."


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