LONDON, January 25 – Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea will quickly recover from their humiliating FA Cup exit against third-tier Bradford because most of his star players missed the stunning fourth round defeat.
Mourinho suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats of his career as the Premier League leaders squandered a two-goal lead in their 4-2 loss at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Chelsea’s first defeat to lower-league opposition since 2008 ended their bid to win all four of the major trophies on offer this season and left Blues boss Mourinho admitting he was ashamed of the performance.
But Chelsea have a golden opportunity to erase the bitter taste of their FA Cup misery when they host Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday in a tie delicately poised after the first leg at Anfield finished 1-1 last week.
Manchester City then visit the Bridge on Saturday in a showdown certain to have a major influence on the destination of the title.
Mourinho believes most of his players should not carry any scars from the Bradford defeat as he made eight changes against the League One side, with Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas only featuring as substitutes and Diego Costa left out of the squad.
“Does this affect the next match? I don’t know because many of the players were not directly involved in the game, I don’t think these players can be affected,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t think (Branislav) Ivanovic, (Nemanja) Matic, Diego (Costa); these guys that were not involved in the game can be affected.
“But it is our team and we lost at home against a lower division team. In an ideal world it would affect us in a positive and not a negative way. We have to win the next match and let’s go for it.”
– Chelsea in disgrace –
Mourinho had admitted before the match that Chelsea’s best chance of winning the Premier League would be to exit the three cup competitions that they were competing in.
But he was insistent that he cared about the FA Cup despite being on the wrong end of one of the competition’s most memorable upsets.
“I feel ashamed and I think the players should feel exactly the same as I feel,” Mourinho said.
“By one side this is the beauty of football, the beauty of the FA Cup. But I repeat the word that I used yesterday in case we lost — it’s a disgrace.
“I don’t chose competitions; the most important competition now is the League Cup because it’s the next game we play.
“Obviously the Premier League is in front of the cups but we prepare things in a serious and professional way. I can’t say in this moment that we don’t care about the FA Cup. We lose and we care.”
After falling behind to goals from Gary Cahill and Ramires, Bradford could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel.
But Jon Stead got one back before former Chelsea player Filipe Morais equalised, setting the stage for Andy Halliday and Mark Yeates to deliver the knockout blows late on.
Mourinho had followed his custom of trying to shake hands with his managerial counterpart before full-time, but Bradford boss Phil Parkinson admitted he was wary of celebrating too soon.
“Jose came to me with three and a half minutes to go and I did not want to get drawn into that,” he said.
“Had Chelsea scored then, with the world-class players they have, they easily could have scored another.
“But Jose came into our dressing room afterwards and shook every player by the hand and gave us great credit, which I must say was real class from him.
“Beating Aston Villa in the semi-final of the League Cup at their place (in 2013) was massive, but the magnitude of this, beating Chelsea on their own patch, makes this the best result of my managerial career, no doubt about that.”