Jose Mourinho rated Chelsea’s first-half performance at Newcastle as “minus one” out of 10 – and he also criticised the referee and Newcastle.
Chelsea had to come from two goals behind to earn a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park on Saturday, with Mourinho admitting his side’s display in the opening 45 minutes was up there with the worst they had ever played under his stewardship.
“I have played so many matches with Chelsea over seven years and we have had some bad performances. I remember one at Middlesbrough in 2005, 2006, something like that, we were losing at half-time 3-0, so we have had a few.
“But this first half, I can rate as one of those performances, yes. I put it down to awful individual performances. When you have so many bad individual performances, it’s impossible for a team to be a team.”
While Mourinho was upset with his side’s first-half display, he was delighted with their response after half-time and not too downbeat to leave the North East with only a point after late goals from substitutes Ramires and Willian cancelled out earlier strikes from Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum.
He told BBC Sport: “In the first half, from 0-10, we were minus one. It was that bad.
“We were so poor, so bad. At half-time I said I was sorry I only had three subs as I wanted to change six.
“There were too many poor individual performances and it was impossible to be a competitive team.
“But in the second half we played very well.
“Ramires and Willian moved the game, they brought more intensity, were much more dynamic. Newcastle could not cope with it.
“I have to try to understand why they can play so bad in one half and so well in the other. We were bad in every aspect of the game in the first half.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho added: “After 2-0, I moved the team and they responded very well to get a point which is not what you want – but it’s not bad.”
Atkinson and Newcastle criticism
Chelsea scored their equaliser four minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish, but Mourinho felt Newcastle were happy to settle for a point at that time. The Blues boss also accused referee Martin Atkinson of slowing down the game too much.
“When we scored the second goal, I felt it was difficult to win the game because I knew what Newcastle wanted,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I also knew the kind of referee Mr Atkinson is. He stops the game and gives time. He speaks too much and he has long conversations with the players.
“I knew immediately it would be difficult but even so, the players tried. I’m really happy with the second half but really disappointed with the first half.”
Mourinho is still yet to win a Premier League game on Tyneside, yet the Portuguese believes Newcastle should view that as a negative rather than a positive.
He said: “I think maybe one of the reasons why Newcastle over the years doesn’t get good positions is because of this mentality, it’s because they choose some matches to sweat blood and in other matches, they don’t.
“This is an attitude typical of a team that wins nothing. It’s bad for them because if they play like this, they win many matches at home, and they don’t. But this is their problem.
“The reality is that they fought hard, they gave everything, they followed a line that many pundits gave straight away – you have to fight, you have to kick, you have to tackle, you have to run, so they were exactly that, and they fought for a point, and I think they deserved a point the way they fought.”