Mourinho 'betrayed by players' as Chelsea lose to Leicester
Victory puts the Foxes top of the table, and leaves Mourinho fighting for his life with the Blues a point above the drop zone
Leicester 2 Chelsea 1
Leicester City climbed back to the summit of the Premier League on Monday night with a 2-1 win over Chelsea, condemning the Blues to a ninth defeat of the season and prompting Jose Mourinho to complain that he had been "betrayed" by his players.
The Foxes secured victory thanks to the two forwards who have engineered their astonishing rise to the top of the table. Algerian Riyad Mahrez played creator as he set up Jamie Vardy for his 15th goal of the season in the first half before doubling the lead with a wonderful curling strike of his own from inside the box after the break.
Loic Remy came on as a substitute to grab a goal back for Mourinho's side with around quarter of an hour left to play, but although the fallen champions piled forward in the closing stages they never really looked like grabbing an equaliser at the King Power stadium.
It was a perfect evening for Leicester, who dominated the match and proved that their rise up the table has been no fluke. But it was another grim night for Chelsea as Eden Hazard limped off with an injury picked up in the first half and Diego Costa sowed more discord by very publicly berating Chelsea's defenders after the first goal.
The Blues have lost nine league games this season, the same number they lost during Mourinho's first three seasons at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2007.
Having gone out of his way to avoid blaming his players for the Blues' defeats all season, Mourinho finally turned both barrels on his stars in his post-match interview, and launched a spirited defence of his own methods and record.
"One of my best qualities is to read the game for my players and I feel like my work was betrayed," he raged.
"One possibility is that I did an amazing job last season and brought the players to a level that is not their level and now they can't maintain it," he continued, before insisting that the club weren't embroiled in a relegation battle despite sitting just a single point above the Premier League's drop zone.
The Blues' ninth defeat in 16 league games this season leaves the Portuguese boss in serious danger of finally feeling the wrath of Roman Abramovich, according to Phil McNulty of BBC Sport.
"It is highly unlikely, and against all his natural instincts, that Abramovich will let this continue," he says. "And with the prospect of any European football of any kind next season receding, the clock must be ticking."
The fixture list is, theoretically at least, relatively kind to Mourinho and his team from here until the end of the year - throwing up home games against Sunderland and Watford, as well as a trip to Old Trafford to face a struggling Manchester United.
The league leaders, on the other hand, may struggle to keep their festive cheer as they face back-to-back trips to Merseyside to play Everton and Liverpool before rounding off the year against title favourites Manchester City.