LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Having escalated a war of words with his rivals, Jose Mourinho closed a week of petty sniping by admitting "football is at peace" after his Chelsea side were beaten by Manchester City in the FA Cup.
Following verbal spats with City manager Manuel Pellegrini and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in the run up to the match at the Etihad Stadium, Mourinho might have hoped his team would do the talking for him in Saturday's fifth round clash.
As it was, his Premier League leaders were muted as City rediscovered their scoring touch in a one-sided 2-0 defeat that left Mourinho facing questions about whether his bravado had backfired.
Mourinho and Pellegrini exchanged barbs last week about money spent in the transfer market and which team were favourites.
After calling Arsenal boss Wenger a "specialist in failure" on Friday, the Portuguese coach, who claims everything he says and does is mind games, was asked if his own side had failed him.
"My team didn't fail, but City played much better than us and when the best team wins, football is at peace," he told reporters.
"The situation is simple to analyse: They were the best team, they won.
"Today proved how difficult it is to win here, which shows how well my team did in the last game."
After beating Saturday's opponents 1-0 in the league 12 days ago, Chelsea looked short on ideas and failed to threaten a City side who looked increasingly comfortable after taking the lead through Stevan Jovetic on 16 minutes.
When Samir Nasri doubled the lead in the second half with a close range tap in, there was no way back.
Having won the tactical battle with Pellegrini in both their league meetings this season, there was little doubt the Chilean had come out on top this time around.
With James Milner employed in a destroyer's role to contain Chelsea's in-form Eden Hazard and Javi Garcia adding steel to a midfield that had looked flimsy, City were a different looking side to the one Mourinho had encountered last time around.
The Portuguese questioned whether the second goal was offside, but admitted the decision did not affect the outcome of the match.
"Was the referee team very poor in the second half? Yes. But even with a perfect referee team would Chelsea win the game? No.
"The second goal was offside, but they would have won 1-0 because we were never close to scoring, or being dominant, or scaring City in the game."
Chelsea can now focus all their efforts on a two-pronged assault on the Champions League, where they face Galatasaray in the last 16 on Feb. 26, and the Premier League.
"We go game by game and we are what we are," Mourinho added.
"We always try to win the next game, it doesn't matter the competition, so I don't think one or two more games in the FA Cup would change anything for us or anything for them with the powerful squad they have.
"Today was also clear there was a different freshness between the teams, one team played a few days ago and another team played last week and had one week without competitive football. It was easy to see the difference." (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Clare Lovell)
- Sports & Recreation
- Jose Mourinho
- Manuel Pellegrini
- Manchester City
- Arsene Wenger
- Premier League