Mourinho's quadruple dream dies

Last week Jose Mourinho and Chelsea were on track for a record four trophies in one season. That possibility is over - as might Mourinho's job.

updated: May 03, 2007 17:55 IST
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Liverpool, England:

Last week Jose Mourinho and Chelsea were on track for a record four trophies in one season. That possibility is over - as might Mourinho's job.

Mourinho has won the last two Premier League titles with Chelsea, but owner Roman Abramovich's most cherished trophy is the European Cup.

Abramovich may choose another manager to fulfill that ambition after Chelsea was beaten by Liverpool 4-1 on penalty kicks on Tuesday.

"As far as my management career goes, that was the most heartbreaking night," Mourinho said after Chelsea was eliminated in the Champions League semifinals for the third time in four seasons. "I'm very, very sad."

The season has unraveled in a matter of days. Mourinho effectively conceded the Premier League title to Manchester United on Saturday after only managing a 2-2 draw with Bolton.

Then, despite entering the second leg of the Champions League semifinals with a 1-0 lead, the Blues allowed a 23rd-minute goal by Daniel Agger and then succumbed on penalties.

Mourinho was adamant that the better team lost.

"They (Liverpool) had a short period in the first half in control, but after that I felt it was always Chelsea in control and trying to win the game," the Portuguese manager said.

"Penalties, some people say they are luck, some that their keeper has an appetite for them or that some players do not take them well. They scored four, us one. That was the story of the game and they were stronger in that part of the game and are in the final."

Domestic glory

Glory for Chelsea this season can only come in the domestic cups.

It won the League Cup - the lesser of England's two knockout competitions - in February, and next month it plays United for the FA Cup title.

Mathematically, Chelsea still can win the Premier League, but it trails United by five points with three rounds to go.

Above all Mourinho, who won the Champions League with Porto in 2004, needs to bring the European Cup to Stamford Bridge for the first time.

"We will keep going. There is always a next chance, next season is another season," Mourinho said. "I feel we deserve to be in a final, three times now in four seasons we get this close, we deserve a final."

Mourinho's options this season have been limited by a series of lengthy injuries, notably to goalkeeper Petr Cech, attacking midfielder Joe Cole and captain John Terry.

They played at Anfield on Tuesday, but striker Andriy Shevchenko, defender Ricardo Carvalho and midfielder Michael Ballack were the latest casualties to afflict the squad.

"I cannot believe next season we will have 20 injuries again," Mourinho said. "I cannot believe next season we will start with injuries on the first day and end with them. I think it was just an incredibly negative season in terms of big injuries."