REUTERS – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho struck a defiant note after his team lost a penalty shootout against Stoke City and crashed out of the League Cup on Tuesday night, insisting he did not need reassurances over his future from the club’s hierarchy.
Mourinho’s men came from 1-0 down to send the tie into extra time but Chelsea’s miserable season continued unchecked as they failed to find a winner against a Stoke side that played with 10 men for all of extra time.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland pulled off a stunning save to palm away Eden Hazard’s penalty and seal a 5-4 shootout win for the Potters, handing Mourinho his eighth defeat in 16 games this season.
The disastrous run of results has already prompted the club’s hierarchy to issue a public statement backing the manager, and Mourinho insisted he did not fear for his job.
“I don’t need it (reassurances), I don’t need more. My general situation is fantastic,” the 52-year-old told reporters after the game.
“I have a day off on Wednesday, fantastic family, I can sleep well every night. And Thursday will be one more day like I have in the last 15 years of my life.”
The Portuguese, who has seen speculation over his future build in recent weeks with each new setback on the pitch, lashed out at suggestions that his players were not behind him.
“Do you think the players are not with me or didn’t give everything to win the game? It’s sad for the players. It’s a lack of respect to the players, not to me,” he said.
“For me it would be a fantastic situation if the players were against me, (because) I could say we didn’t have the results because the players were against me.”
Mourinho said the performance had answered Chelsea’s doubters and slammed the media for their criticism.
“We played very well,” he said. “What the players did tonight was face some people who have written and spoken (about them) and said: ‘you are stupid’.
“I think what some people write and say is really bad for the players, and because most that do that were players, maybe they think my players are like them when they were players.
“My players don’t do that.”
Striker Diego Costa picked up an injury during the game that could rule him out for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)