Mourinho sensed Blues would lose

Hampshire Chronicle: Jose Mourinho was not impressed after the defeat Jose Mourinho was not impressed after the defeat

Jose Mourinho had a familiar sinking feeling when Chelsea failed to take advantage of a host of first-half opportunities in their defeat by Stoke.

Andre Schurrle gave the visitors the lead after 10 minutes at the Britannia Stadium but they could not extend their advantage, with Ramires particularly culpable.

Chelsea paid the price when poor defending allowed Peter Crouch to equalise three minutes before half-time, and substitute Stephen Ireland put Stoke ahead five minutes after the break.

Schurrle struck again within three minutes to level things up, and it looked set to finish all square until substitute Oussama Assaidi unleashed a superb drive into the top corner in the 90th minute to earn Stoke a 3-2 win.

Mourinho compared the first half to those in Chelsea's other Barclays Premier League defeats of the season, against Everton and Newcastle.

He said: "I could see that result happening because after half an hour we should have been winning three or four nil, and we weren't.

"The three players behind the striker were playing so well, creating so much, but you have to kill the game. Normally you kill the game but we didn't.

"I can compare this first half with another two first halves - Everton and Newcastle, they were exactly the same.

"We didn't score enough goals and on top of that we made defensive mistakes. If you don't score a lot of goals but you don't make defensive mistakes, then you can win with just one goal.

"In the last 15 or 20 minutes we didn't play well, the game they wanted was the game we gave them."

While the likes of Schurrle, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Ramires caused Stoke no end of problems, there were concerns for Mourinho at both ends.

Petr Cech was particularly culpable for Stoke's first goal while strikers Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o did not manage a shot on target.

The trio have scored only four goals between them in the Premier League this season, and asked what he can do to improve their strike rate, Mourinho said: "I don't know.

"I think they are players trying to give everything to the team and working hard, and when players try to give everything to my team, I can't criticise."

The result was much-needed for Stoke, who had won only one of their previous 11 Premier League matches this season.

Potters boss Mark Hughes was in the Chelsea team the last time Stoke beat the Blues, in a League Cup game in 1995, while their most recent league win had come back in 1975.

Hughes said: "It was a great result for us. I thought it was a fantastic game. From start to finish we put in a real performance.

"We had to recover very quickly from the disappointment of going behind in the game. I thought we showed real character and we stuck at it.

"Chelsea gave us a little bit of a runaround in the first half and we had to hang on in there, but that's what we did.

"In the second half I thought we were excellent, and the two goals we scored were absolutely outstanding.

"It was another blow having got our noses in front to concede almost immediately. That was a test of character as well but we stuck at it.

"From our point of view it's a huge result because we've set our standards today and we need to maintain them."

Assaidi is on loan from Liverpool for the season, and chose some way to score his first Premier League goal.

The 25-year-old had been disappointed to be left out of the starting line-up and only replaced Jonathan Walters with six minutes to go.

Hughes said: "I did say to him, 'You need to be ready if called upon, you need to come on and make an impact' - I didn't anticipate he was going to make such an impact but I'm glad he did."

The result lifted Stoke to 12th in the table while Chelsea dropped to third, behind Liverpool, and could fall seven points behind Arsenal on Sunday.

Mourinho remained positive, though, saying: "I think we are doing well.

"Maybe tomorrow we are seven points from the leader but when you see us in relation to Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham, Liverpool, I think we are not doing bad."

Schurrle almost completed a hat-trick, hitting the bar with another excellent shot before being forced off by a calf problem.

Asked why he had substituted the German, Mourinho said: "Injury - I am not stupid. He told me he could not carry on."

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