Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says he ran to a ball boy in injury-time of his side’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace to forestall any likely show of temperament on his player’s part, after the youngster did not release the ball to Cesar Azpilicueta quickly.
Midfielder Eden Hazard was sent off in a game at Swansea last season when he tried to kick a ball away from underneath a ball boy who had fallen on top of it.
“It is not right to educate kids to do that,” said Mourinho. “I went to stop Azpy [Azpilicueta].
“I was afraid he would lose control of his emotions and push the kid or do something like Eden [Hazard] did last year at Swansea. I told the boy to not do that.”
The Portuguese tactician however admits the Blues have their selves to blame after suffering another setback in their Premier League title challenge.
John Terry’s 52nd minute own goal from Joel Ward’s teasing cross helped The Eagles move out of the relegation zone – after Cardiff City’s 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion- as Chelsea now remain one point clear of Liverpool and three clear of Manchester City, who will move top with a win over Arsenal in Saturday’s late kick-off.
“Now we have lost our chance of finishing first. Now we depend too much on other results,” Mourinho added.
“Crystal Palace deserved the victory, they fought for their lives. We had good chances and their goalkeeper made some good saves in the first half.
“But their spirit was stronger, their desire was stronger and their commitment was stronger. That disappoints me, but it’s a defeat that we can only blame ourselves for.
“Some of our players are not comfortable in these types of matches, like Stoke away, Newcastle away and Everton away.
“Can I change this? I don’t know. My defenders are phenomenal, but in other positions we have players that can be in trouble.”