Premier League: Chelsea must always be in the title race, Mourinho tells team

 
Julian Harris
Follow Julian
AT STAMFORD BRIDGE

CHELSEA 3 vs SOUTHAMPTON 1

CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho has reminded his players that anything less than challenging for the title should be considered a failure, having narrowed the gap at the top of the Premier League to four points.

The Blues suffered a disastrous start to yesterday’s game with Jay Rodriguez pouncing on a Michael Essien back-pass to open the scoring after just 13 seconds, yet second-half headers from Gary Cahill and John Terry put the home side back in front before Demba Ba sealed the win in the 90th minute.

“If you are 10-12 points behind, you are building but you are not fighting for the title. If you are three, four or five behind then you are building, evolving, but you are also fighting for the title. One of the things these boys have to learn is to cope with the responsibility of being there – we cannot be 15 points behind by December, we have to be there,” Mourinho said.

“They must feel the responsibility to play for Chelsea – feeling that Chelsea cannot be, like has happened in a few seasons, completely out of the title race in December.”

The team’s chances took a knock seconds into yesterday’s match, when Essien lobbed a pass back into Chelsea’s own penalty area, which Rodriguez ran onto and side-footed past Petr Cech.

Yet the Blues were on top from then on, and 10 minutes into the second half Cahill stooped to head in a rebound after Ba – a half-time substitute – had hit the post following a corner.

And just minutes later Terry, playing his 400th Premier League game, glanced a Juan Mata ball high across goal and into the far corner of the net.

The game seemed set for a nervy ending until Ba stuck out a leg to turn in a Ramires cross low inside the near post.