Mourinho puts struggles down to European exit

The Chelsea manager said "the mental energy disappears, the focus disappears" following a club's elimination from the Champions League.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho believes his players felt the effects of their UEFA Champions League exit in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Norwich City.

Atletico claimed a 3-1 semifinal win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and Chelsea followed that match with a lethargic first-half display that allowed struggling Norwich to take a point.

The result means a victory for Liverpool or Manchester City in their remaining games will end Chelsea's Premier League title hopes.

But Mourinho reiterated his insistence that his team is not a realistic contender for the crown, instead focusing on the positive of securing third place — and a spot in the Champions League group stage — ahead of Arsenal.

“I think that when we lose the Champions League semifinal you know you are not realistically in the title race," he said. "I think the mental energy disappears, the focus disappears, you start thinking more about what next than what you have to do now and that was reflected in my opinion in the first half.
"The first half was the consequence of that state of mind. In the second half we were much, much better and better enough to win but we didn't."

Andre Schurrle and Eden Hazard had strong penalty claims rejected during the second period by referee Neil Swarbrick as Chelsea floundered.

In light of recent disciplinary trouble for himself having commented on officials' decisions and a six-match stadium ban for assistant Rui Faria, Mourinho opted to keep his council on this occasion.

"Hazard, I saw in the game but to confirm I had a quick run to my office and I arrived in time to watch and to go back to the dugout laughing," he added. "The other one I didn't see and it’s better not to speak about it."