In Review

Mourinho blames league rivals as Chelsea lose to West Brom

Champions embarrassed, but it's only because they were allowed to win the league so early

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
West Brom 3 Chelsea 0

Newly-crowned champions Chelsea slumped to an embarrassing defeat at the Hawthorns on Monday night but manager Jose Mourinho found a novel excuse for the loss as he pinned the blame on the Blues' Premier League rivals for allowing them to win the title too early.

Having wrapped up the league title at the start of the month, the Blues have been on cruise control ever since and their trip to West Brom was never going to be a thriller.

With the Baggies mid-table and nothing to play for except the cachet of saying they beat the champions, the game followed a predictable pattern with the hosts taking an early lead on nine minutes with Saido Berahino's curling shot. It was the 21-year-old's first goal in nine Premier League matches and set Chelsea on course for their first league defeat in 16 matches.

Chelsea then made matters worse for themselves when Cesc Fabregas got himself sent off on 29 minutes for kicking the ball at the head of Chris Brunt. Thereafter the result was inevitable and it was only a matter of time before West Brom extended their lead.

The goal came from the penalty spot early in the second half, Berahino dusting himself off after a foul from John Terry to beat Thibaut Courtois. Brunt then made it 3-0 on the hour mark with an angled shot as the Baggies inflicted only the third league defeat of Chelsea's season.

"You can't expect us to go on the bus crying because we lost 3-0," reflected Mourinho. "We are champions... Am I happy because we lose? Of course I'm not happy. Am I sad? No. The ideal scenario would be to be champions, close the shop and go home."

Admitting that since being crowned champions on 3 May, he had "lost that salt and pepper you need during the week to work at a high level", the Chelsea manager pointed the finger at their rivals. "I think the top contenders are also guilty because they let us win the title so early."

On the other hand Mourinho considered Fabregas innocent of the crime that earned him a red card, saying that his midfielder intended no malice when he kicked the ball towards a group of players arguing about the aftermath of a clash between Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Baggies defender Gareth McAuley.

"Where is the danger of the situation, where is the aggression in the situation to get the red card in a friendly game?" said Mourinho. "I really don't understand."

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