Football

Mourinho: Ref Foy could cost us title

CRYSTAL PALACE v CHELSEA

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Jose Mourinho believes referee Chris Foy's performance in the defeat by Aston Villa could cost Chelsea the title.

Premier League leaders Chelsea, who play Crystal Palace tonight, lost 1-0 at Villa Park in a match which saw Mourinho sent to the stands following the dismissals of Willian and Ramires.

Mourinho maintains that Manchester City are title favourites and Liverpool have a strong chance, while he refused to rule out Arsenal despite hammering the Gunners 6-0 last weekend.

If the Blues are beaten by one or two points in the title race, Mourinho will look no further than this month's defeat by Aston Villa, which still leaves him seething at the performance of referee Foy.

Asked if the Villa match could be pinpointed as costly come the end of the season, Mourinho said: "Yes, because the other matches we lost because we didn't play well, because the opponents were better than us, because we missed big chances.

"If you go to the other matches, you find the natural reasons for losing a match. If you go to the Villa match, it's difficult.

"What happened in the defeat against Villa I never learn, I never accept.

HURDLE

"Somebody was very successful in putting a hurdle in front of us. And we crashed the hurdle against Aston Villa and we lost.

"Villa (game) was not a normal football match and we always hope that football matches are normal."

Mourinho will face a personal Football Association disciplinary hearing at the end of next week to challenge his improper conduct charge issued following his dismissal at Villa.

"If you lose in the right way, you have to move on and try not to lose again," said Mourinho, who faces a £10,000 ($21,000) fine for his second sending-off of the season.

"The only thing I didn't learn is to lose with that kind of referee performance, because it's not a mistake, it's a performance.

"I learn to control my emotions and I learn to calm down in the moment like I did, but I don't learn how to accept that kind of performance."

Chelsea are unbeaten in nine London derbies in the league this season, with six wins.

"This one is the last one, so let's try to make it without defeat in the London derbies," added Mourinho, whose Blues beat Palace 2-1 last December.

"For the fans, 4-0 against Tottenham is more than three points, 6-0 against Arsenal is more than three points.

"We are in a good run, we are in a good moment. We are enjoying the situation.

"Palace were difficult at home and when Pulis was there for about two weeks, he was just arriving.

"Now, after months of work and matches and matches, they are much more Tony Pulis' team and it's going to be very difficult."

- PA Sport.