Mourinho watched on in utter frustration as the Blues produced one of their most inept performances of 2013, falling to a Mohamed Salah strike three minutes from time.
Chelsea still qualified, by virtue of the fact that they cannot be overtaken by both Schalke and Basel on the final matchday in Group E (on which the two clubs play one another), but that did not stop Mourinho laying into each and every one of his players, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail:
Everybody, everybody, the goal is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. They were sleeping. If they weren't sleeping, how could that goal go in?
When you are tired, you sleep. When you are tired, you think slow. It's true. When you are tired you react late. We had situations to score but had bad control, no sharpness. When the team is tired, defensive and attacking mistakes can happen, and you concede goals that you never normally concede.
This isn’t the first time this campaign that Mourinho has had to tear a strip off his players, who continue to punctuate their promising season with occasional no-shows.
They recently followed up a 2-1 Premier League win over Manchester City, in which they played some breathtaking football, with a pathetic display at Newcastle. After the latter, a 2-0 defeat, Mourinho suggested he made “11 mistakes” with his team selection, per Sky Sports.
Now, after a completely dominant 3-0 outing at West Ham, the Blues have once again let themselves down with Tuesday’s limp loss to Basel:
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea players being 'tired' was the reason for their 1-0 defeat to Basel. Is that an excuse? http://t.co/DONCAPFyXc— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 27, 2013
According to ESPN FC, Chelsea registered two shots throughout the 90 minutes, neither of which made the goalkeeper work. Basel are no European giants, yet they peppered Petr Cech with 15 shots in a deserved victory.
Mourinho’s critical response is characteristic of a man who settles for nothing less than perfection. Chelsea's players, particularly the ones who played under the Portuguese during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, will not be surprised by their boss’ reaction:
Mourinho: 'We will make changes but it’s not a question of punishment; it’s a question of using the squad and the options we have.’ #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) November 26, 2013
The Chelsea figurehead likes to create unity within a squad, but he is far more willing than most rival managers to reprimand his players in public, the aim being to prompt an immediate response in their next game.
That next fixture sees them take on high-flying Southampton on Dec. 1. After Chelsea’s recent home draw with West Brom, Mourinho will want to guarantee his players are at their very best.
Who was at fault for the Basel defeat?
However, Mourinho's quotes also deflect headlines away from another questionable team selection, which again saw Juan Mata left on the sidelines.
Mata, along with Eden Hazard, was on the bench in Switzerland, and he has only made eight starts for the club this term. Having won the Chelsea Player of the Season award in the summer, it is a baffling situation for the Spain international.
Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea, which brought the club major success, ensures he retains the faith of the fans. But results like Tuesday’s defeat, if continued, will raise question marks over why he continues to be at odds with a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge.