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This was not so much a defeat for Chelsea as a reality check. It was a loss that prompted Jose Mourinho to question himself as well as the mentality of his players and their suitability for a Premier League title race.

Mourinho did not hold back in his criticism, questioning his team’s title credentials, their attitude and their heart.

He was disgusted by the lack of energy and aggression, alarmed by the manner in which his side were out-played in the second half and irritated by the mentality of players who failed to appreciate how tough games at places like St James’ Park can be.

“I am worried about my team,” said Mourinho. “I look at previous years and it has happened the same. They have been successful in cup competitions but not in the Premier League. They have finished 20 points behind, 15 points behind [the title winners]. They have qualified for the Champions League because they won it, but they finished sixth in the league.

“Last year, by December they were out of the title race because they were 20 points behind. We have played five matches away from home in the league and have only one victory and two defeats. [Newcastle] have a wonderful crowd who are always behind the team and you have to come here with a certain type of mentality to win and we didn’t have that.

“I didn’t like my team today. I made 11 mistakes in picking the team. That is how I feel at the moment. Of course this is an exaggeration, we had some players who had normal performances, but I feel as though I made a mistake.”

Chelsea deserved to lose. They may have had some good chances to score both before Yoan Gouffran gave Newcastle United the lead and after, but the home side sat back in the first half and allowed them to play.

In the second, when Alan Pardew’s men threw off the defensive shackles and had the ambition to take the game to the opposition, Chelsea buckled in a manner that causes serious questions to be asked in Mourinho’s first year back as manager.

In turn, this was not so much a victory for Newcastle United as a tonic for so many ills that have gradually weakened this proud club at the heart of a football mad city.

Having lost the derby at Sunderland last Sunday and been knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Manchester City in midweek, this was a timely reminder that for all of the animosity towards Newcastle’s owner Mike Ashley, manager Alan Pardew does have a side who are capable of beating the best when they get it right.

It was a win that, for the time being at least, has given supporters depressed by Ashley’s handling of their club, enormous pride in those who represent them in black and white stripes.

“Some game plans in football don’t always come to light but we started conservatively as if you go chasing the ball from the start against Chelsea they stamp their authority,” explained Pardew.

“We put the back four under pressure in the second half and we cranked it up as the game wore on.

“I think we should really have three more points than we’ve got, but when we show that sort of work rate, we have quality players here who can win games. If we carry on playing like this, we’re going to have a good season.

“We’ve got good spirit and togetherness and we have some good players. You can’t have anyone drifting around, you have to have everyone working hard and we got that I said I thought we were playing well and should have won at Sunderland and could have beaten Manchester City, but you need a break in games and we got that today. We had just got the crowd going and we scored at the perfect time.”

Both sides were nullified as an attacking force in the first half, Chelsea’s best chances coming from a corner, while Newcastle tried their best to pounce on the counter-attack but rarely got anywhere near Chelsea’s goal.

John Terry came closest to opening the scoring, heading powerfully against the crossbar from a Juan Mata corner. Newcastle did not clear the danger and Branislav Ivanovic hooked the ball back on to the roof of the bar with the help of a deflection off Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

Chelsea felt as though they should have been awarded a penalty when Mata tripped over the leg of the hugely impressive Mathieu Debuchy. Sometimes they are given, sometimes they are not.

The game ignited at the start of the second half and it was Newcastle who had the flame in their hand. Shola Ameobi had forced his way through the middle of the Chelsea defence but shot tamely.

Debuchy then robbed Eden Hazard just inside the Chelsea half and threaded a through ball for Moussa Sissoko who only had Loïc Rémy for support so decided to shoot, but Petr Cech made a sharp save.

St James’ Park found its voice, Newcastle rediscovered their mojo. Ameobi headed back across goal for Rémy, who should have scored, but fired too close to Cech.

Gouffran, cut inside Ivanovic and the Chelsea goalkeeper made another important save.

The momentum was black and white and when Ashley Cole fouled Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye’s delivery was sublime, the ball landing on the head of Gouffran after Frank Lampard had misjudged its flight.

Newcastle had the lead and clung on to it. Tim Krul made one important save to keep out substitute Willian and Debuchy got an equally important block in on Samuel Eto’o.

With five minutes remaining, Hazard had a wonderful chance to equalise, but dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Rémy showed him how it should be done, taking advantage of some brilliant work by Vurnon Anita, who skipped past a defender and picked him out perfectly.

The striker, on loan from QPR, scored his sixth goal of the season via the inside of the post and celebrated by kissing a small boy on the top of his head in the crowd.

They may have been soaked to the skin by incessant rain, but this was a day that gave Newcastle supporters a reason to feel warm inside again.

Source: Telegraph

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