Chelsea 'brilliant', says Mourinho
May 7, 2007 - 1:35:42 PM
London, May 7 - Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho labelled his players as 'brilliant' despite his side's 1-1 draw with Arsenal that handed the English Premiership title to Manchester United.
Chelsea needed to win to keep their hopes of a third straight Premiership title alive. But though they fought hard, surviving for more than 45 minutes with only 10 men, they could not find the winner in the match Sunday.
United are seven points clear with two games remaining.
'I have to say that maybe I'm prouder today than when I was champion,' Mourinho said. 'My players are heroes. All season, against absolutely everything, they did brilliantly.
'The season was magnificent and I think today is a game to remember. It showed how big Chelsea players are and I couldn't be happier with the way it finished for us.'
Mourinho did find time to congratulate United on their first league title since 2003.
'I have to congratulate the champions, the players, the manager, the fans, the board; all the people that help them be champions.'
However, the Portuguese said the way his team had overcome injuries and criticism throughout the season had made him proud.
'We had a big problem only to play all season only with - Carvalho at centre-half but now is not the moment to talk about that.
'I'm very proud of my players. Normally when a team has a lot of success and loses a championship it's lack of motivation, not the same spirit or ambition, but it was exactly the opposite. My team was brilliant.'
Chelsea were up against it from the moment that Khalid Bouhlarouz was sent off for a clumsy foul on Julio Baptista a minute before half time.
Gilberto sent Petr Cech the wrong way from the spot to put Arsenal ahead, but Chelsea regrouped at half time and created several good chances in the second half.
Michael Essien gave them a deserved equaliser 20 minutes from the end, Joe Cole had a goal ruled out for offside late on and Salomon Kalou forced a good save from Jens Lehmann in injury time.
At the other end, Cech saved brilliantly from Alexander Hleb and Emmanuel Eboue hit the bar.
But Chelsea had to settle for a share of the spoils, ending their outside hopes of a third straight Premiership title.
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