Jose Mourinho accepts blame and admits top four may now be beyond Chelsea

Jose Mourinho accepted responsibility for Chelsea’s miserable title defence and appeared to write off the prospect of a top-four finish following the Barclays Premier League loss to Bournemouth.

The Cherries, promoted after winning the Championship last season, inflicted an eighth league defeat of the campaign on the Blues, with Glenn Murray’s late header securing a 1-0 win which Eddie Howe lauded as the most significant result in the club’s history.

Mourinho felt the Blues should have had a penalty prior to that when a Diego Costa cut-back hit Simon Francis on the arm and also believed referee Mike Jones was wrong to allow the goal, which had a hint of offside.

The loss plunged Chelsea into crisis again and puts Mourinho’s position under further scrutiny, two months to the day since he was subject of the first vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich’s 12-year ownership.

Asked if he still has the confidence of the club, Mourinho said: “Yes, I believe.” The Portuguese again insisted he had no “right” to demand transfer activity in January.

“The owner and the board are not responsible for the bad moments,” he added. “The responsibility for the bad moment is my responsibility and the players’ responsibility.”

Mourinho also appeared to concede defeat in Chelsea’s bid to reach the top four and qualify for the Champions League. “Our objective is to finish top four,” he told Sky Sports.

However, Bournemouth counterpart Howe disagreed with Mourinho’s view of Chelsea’s penalty appeal.

“I think Simon’s committed to his slide,” he said. “His arm’s there, it’s not moved towards the ball. I think that would’ve been extremely harsh.”

On the magnitude of the win for a club who have flirted with extinction, Howe said: “I think it’s at the very top. We’ve never been in the Premier League before, so when you come to the champions and beat them, I think it must rank as the best individual result of the club’s history.”

It meant even more for the Cherries given the injuries to key personnel this season.

“It gives the players some reward for how hard they’ve worked,” Howe added. “It’s only one game but it does give us a huge boost going into the Christmas period.”

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