Watch out, Mourinho's building a Blues dynasty
Mourinho's Blues set to dominate English football for years to come
(Eden Hazard 45)
CRYSTAL PALACE 0
Mark this day down as the beginning of a football dynasty.
Stamford Bridge witnessed not the end, but the start of something special.
Chelsea sang "We are the Champions" at the final whistle. After five years since their last Premier League trophy, they remembered the words.
They won't forget them now. The song will become the club's soundtrack.
The 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace last night felt inevitable. So did the final destination of the silverware.
They are blessed with a title maker who no longer has itchy feet and a chip on the shoulder to excel elsewhere. Jose Mourinho is not the Special One any more. He's the Happy One. He is home.
He's where he wants to be.
If the forgotten men of Manchester and North London are not concerned, they should be.
Between the two Mourinho eras at Chelsea, the two halves of Manchester passed the silverware between them like a hot potato.
United papered over the cracks of a crumbling empire. City played the great pretenders.
In their dynasty aspirations, both fiddled around like a couple of hot-blooded teenagers on a first date.
There was no staying power, just an overwhelming sense of anti-climax.
But when the final whistle went at Stamford Bridge and skipper John Terry embraced Didier Drogba, they knew. They'd been here before.
They'd been here with the master before. But he had bailed.
This time feels different. This time, Mourinho will hang around at least until that Champions League itch has been scratched at Chelsea. All the worlds he wishes to conquer can now be conquered from West London.
Accusations of a negative, boring approach not only miss the point, but also undermine Mourinho's achievements.
Chelsea went top on the first day of the campaign and stayed there. The football before Christmas was belligerent and so often brilliant.
It was never boring.
Injuries, suspensions and international commitments robbed Chelsea's rivals of their impetus and gave their managers lazy excuses.
Mourinho lost his main striker (Diego Costa), his creator in chief (Cesc Fabregas) and his midfield engine (Nemanja Matic) and rarely whined. He recalibrated.
Even last night's victory was achieved without Costa and Loic Remy.
With 37-year-old Drogba leading the line and the weight of expectation almost overwhelming, the home side stuttered.
Chelsea came for a party, but initially forgot to bring the food and drinks, and almost turned off the sound system.
In one corner of Stamford Bridge, the Palace supporters provided the singing, mocking the subdued crowd by chanting: "Shall we sing a song for you?"
The sarcasm really hit the spot. Little else did until the stroke of half-time.
The Blues had heads in the crowds, but feet of clay. Alan Pardew packed his Palace side with pace and, for 44 minutes, the move paid off.
For so many years, Drogba took on talismanic duties for the hosts, scoring the crucial goals that confirmed their last title in 2010, but turned into Teflon last night. Nothing stuck.
Chelsea couldn't keep the ball as the game bypassed Eden Hazard. The Footballer of the Year disappeared in the looming shadow that covered the left flank. When he finally stepped out in the 44th minute, he didn't shine.
Hazard dived. Replays and super slo-mo will show the contact made by James McArthur's leg, but it was a dive, no more, no less.
Palace's centre back had withdrawn his leg by the time the dashing Belgian slipped through the eye of the needle in the box. But Hazard pushed his leg against McArthur's.
Hazard didn't need to win this way. Nor did Chelsea. Such cynical cheating should be beneath both player and club.
Hazard's spot-kick was saved but he scored with his second attempt. The football gods were smiling down on the Bridge. Justice never got a look in.
Pardew threw on Glenn Murray to give Palace a bolder forward line, but Chelsea were in no mood for party poopers.
Mourinho always said that winning 1-0 was the easiest result to achieve.
Like a vet with no conscience, he puts down without mercy. The job was done once Hazard had taken his dive.
If the manner of Chelsea's victory was mischievous, the achievement was no less magnificent.
When the formalities are concluded, Mourinho will again show his competitors how to buy relevant quality rather than random quantity in the transfer market.
They will whinge. He will win. And he will dominate the domestic game.
One of the T-shirts being sold outside the stadium said it all.
He's Jose Mourinho. He wins when he wants.
- CHELSEA: Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Juan Cuadrado (Jon Obi Mikel 45), Willian (Kurt Zouma 85), Eden Hazard (Filipe Luis 90+2), Didier Drogba
- CRYSTAL PALACE: Julian Speroni, Adrian Mariappa (Martin Kelly 60), Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon (Yaya Sanogo 71), James McArthur, Joe Ledley, Wilfried Zaha, Jordon Mutch (Glenn Murray 61), Yannick Bolasie
Hungry Jose wants Mour
Jose Mourinho immediately set his sights on a fourth Premier League title after guiding Chelsea to their first championship in five years yesterday.
The Blues secured a first league title since 2009/2010 with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho's side needed three points to claim the trophy with three games to spare and Eden Hazard headed in the rebound after missing a first-half penalty.
Mourinho's 21st trophy of his prolific career was the League Cup win at Wembley in March - the first of his second spell at Stamford Bridge - and now the Portuguese has a third Premier League title and Chelsea's fourth in 11 seasons.
"I will try (for) another one. I will try always," he said.
"The day I don't feel that passion to try to do it again, that's enough. I don't feel that day is arriving.
"When you work so hard and you are champions, you feel that you got what you deserve. That good feeling.
"For me, maybe (a) special feeling, because I'm not the smartest guy to choose countries and clubs.
"I could choose another club in another country, where to be champion is easier. I choose the most difficult league in Europe.
"I risk. I'm so, so happy, because I won another Premier League title, 10 years, or eight or nine years later, in my second spell.
"Today was not a game to enjoy. Today was the game to finish the job."
Mourinho has had a tough preparation for the game with illness to his father, who is recovering following surgery this week.
"When the game finished at Leicester (on Wednesday), I got immediately a private plane to go to Portugal and I was there with him for the most difficult moment (the operation)," Mourinho added. "He's getting better. I'm much more relaxed."
Palace boss Alan Pardew felt unfortunate with the manner of defeat after a good performance by his side.
Pardew felt the penalty award was "questionable" and that his players might have had their own spot-kick when John Terry blocked a Jason Puncheon shot.
"I do feel a little bit hard done by," Pardew said.
"I asked the referee at half-time. The referee said it was an 'absolute definite penalty, Alan. I don't know what you're asking for'.
"It was a bad piece of luck, really. It was kind of questionable.
"Then they get another break when he misses it and it goes straight to him.
"We also felt that Puncheon's shot is blocked by Terry's body and hand.
"It could've been a penalty for that. (But) it's not about us today."
Chelsea squeezed Palace into submission in the second half to see out victory.
"That's what champions do - they don't let you back in when they take the lead," Pardew added.
"That's why they continue to do the job in each game they come to. They've had two defeats this year, that says it all.
"They've obviously done the job. Sometimes, fantasy and flair go out the window to do the job to win.
"That's why this guy (Mourinho) earns the money he earns, because he wins and he wins trophies."
Chelsea were forced into a late change before kick-off, with Brazil midfielder Ramires dropping out to be replaced by Juan Cuadrado.
Mourinho said: "Ramires went to the hospital, he was feeling so bad." - PA Sport.
By the numbers
Chelsea have won four Premier League titles since Roman Abramovich (above, with his son Aaron) bought the club in 2003.
The Blues have spent 253 days at the top of the Premier League table to date this season.