Mourinho makes light of 'bad' start
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho taunted his critics after his side's 2-0 defeat of Fulham saw them rise to the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Since the defeat at Everton last Saturday Mourinho has been reminded of Chelsea's worst start to a Premier League season since 2003/04, in the early months of Roman Abramovich's ownership.
Coupled with the midweek mishap in the Champions League, a 2-1 defeat by Swiss side Basle, it prompted talk of a crisis at Chelsea, something Mourinho mocked following the west London derby triumph.
Mourinho placed little importance on his side topping the embryonic table after Oscar's second-half strike and John Obi Mikel's first goal in almost seven years ended a four-match winless streak.
The Portuguese merely took pleasure from the fact his side were in close proximity to the five sides he regards as title rivals.
"The important thing is not to be top, the important thing is to be there," Mourinho said.
"Where is Man U? Where is Man City? Where is Tottenham? Where is Arsenal? Where is Liverpool?
"If they are a long way (ahead) it's a problem, if we are there, it's important.
"And some of them, they start the Premier League in a brilliant way, we start in a very bad way.
"If we start in a very bad way and they start in a brilliant way, it's good for us."
Asked to clarify his thoughts on Chelsea's "very bad" start, Mourinho added: "That's what I read. It was a disaster. I think it was not good, but every one of the two defeats (to Everton and Basle) are not defeats with a conclusion.
"You lose a match in the Premier League, you don't lose the Premier League.
"You lose a match in the Champions League (and) you are in a more difficult situation, but you have 15 points to play for."
Mourinho, who insisted he accepts criticism, believes Chelsea are judged differently to their rivals.
He added: "All the six teams, we all lost. Every one of us lost a game and it looks like for the others, to lose is a normal thing and it looks like for us it's the end of the world."
Pundits and fans have been bemused by Mourinho's continued marginalisation of Juan Mata, the player of the year in each of the last two seasons.
The World Cup winner was not in the squad to play Fulham, instead watching from behind the substitutes' bench alongside David Luiz, who was also omitted.
The pair trained on Saturday morning and will feature at Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
Mourinho said: "I hope he tells me on the pitch 'you are wrong, I'm the best and I have to play every game'.
"I would love that. I'm waiting for a professional reaction. I want him to be fantastic. I hope he can.
"I gave Juan the chance to play from the beginning against Aston Villa, from the beginning against Everton, 30, 35 minutes against Basle.
"The past is the past, what matters is now. You have to be judged for what you do now.
"I have my options, but the thing that I most love in football is when the players prove that I'm wrong."
Nigeria midfielder Mikel found the net for the first time since January 2007 to make certain of victory.
Mourinho, who praised Mikel's all-round display, said: "It's good for him, good for us, good for his confidence.
"I think people enjoyed seeing John score a goal. The finish was good."
Fulham troubled Chelsea and Darren Bent should have given the visitors a first-half lead, only to fluff his shot.
Fulham boss Martin Jol said: "The first 50 minutes they were really worried. They couldn't find the space, they couldn't find a solution and that is probably the moment you have to punish them and we couldn't do that.
"The second half they stepped up a gear, they were more aggressive than us and that is what showed."
Jol was not satisfied with the number of chances his side created.
"For me it's not enough," he said.
"If you play the way we played, you have to create more. We will in the future. We needed a little bit more."
The Dutchman also recognised the Cottagers must win again soon.
He added: "We need a win to get back to the top 10. I think all the teams in the bottom half, especially now. We're 17th or 18th, we have to get out of there."