London - A subdued Jose Mourinho, still smarting from his latest fine by the football authorities, described Chelsea's season as a huge improvement despite their failure to win a trophy.
He was fined 10 000 pounds (about R175 000) on Thursday by the FA for sarcastic remarks about Mike Dean, the referee in a crucial home defeat by Sunderland last month, and officials' chief Mike Riley.
Mourinho's appeal against an 8,000-pound ($13,600) fine for going on to the pitch during a loss at Aston Villa was then rejected.
Asked at a news conference how much he had enjoyed his return to England, the Portuguese said: “I like to be back. I enjoyed most of the things that happened. I like English football.”
But he added of the key defeats that cost his team their chance of winning the Premier League: “To lose at Crystal Palace is (part of) English football. To lose like we did against Aston Villa or Sunderland is not English football.”
Clearly resentful of his treatment by the FA, Mourinho said some issues raised by reporters were best answered by others because “other managers can have a free opinion that I cannot have”.
When it came to the performances of Chelsea, who failed to win anything for the first time in a full season under Mourinho, the manager said: “There was an evolution in every competitive aspect.
“Last year Chelsea were out of the title race by November and the distance behind (champions) Manchester United was about 20 points. This season we fought until it was mathematically impossible, in the previous game.
“Last year we were relegated into the Europa League. This year we were in the (Champions League) semi-finals,” he added.
“It's not the kind of season Chelsea celebrates.”
Two points behind second-placed Liverpool, the London club are likely to finish third after their final match on Sunday, away to relegated Cardiff City.
Mourinho said stalwarts Frank Lampard and John Terry would miss the game - as will Samuel Eto'o - but did not know whether the two England internationals and Ashley Cole would be leaving before next season.
He said he would make a full written report to the club's directors analysing every aspect of the season and the first team before working on new signings. – Reuters