Manchester: For Jose Mourinho, failure came a little too close for comfort.
Chelsea was completely outplayed at Manchester City on Saturday, failing to register a shot on target in an FA Cup loss, just a day after Mourinho taunted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger about being a "specialist in failure."
It is Wenger's side still in the cup, until Sunday at least when Arsenal hosts Liverpool in the fifth round.
Mourinho, who Wenger accused initially of having a "fear to fair," now has just two routes to silverware this season — the Premier League and Champions League.
And after Saturday's 2-0 loss at City, Mourinho's public goading of Wenger on Friday came back to bite him when asked to explain Chelsea's capitulation at Etihad Stadium.
"I don't think my team failed," Mourinho quickly responded.
Yet the way the latest Mourinho-Wenger spat has been interpreted has clearly irritated the Portuguese manager.
"It is always the same guy, the bad guy," Mourinho said. "One is polite (Wenger) and the other is the bad guy."
Mourinho, though, made few excuses for Chelsea's pitiful display at City less than two weeks after his side came here and won 1-0 in the league.
"City played much better than us and deserved to win," Mourinho said. "Football is in peace when the best team wins. Two weeks ago the best team won and today the best team won.
"Give credit to my players because today proved that to win twice against City and to win here is very difficult to do. Credit for what my team did two weeks ago."
Indeed, those victories over City in the league ensure Chelsea tops the standings with 12 games to go. And there's no doubting that the Premier League is the biggest domestic prize on offer — for the prestige and riches.
Mourinho avoided any personal criticism of his players at City, but Samuel Eto'o made little impact and was replaced at halftime. The striker's replacement, Mohamed Salah, also found no way through City's well-organized defense and Fernando Torres couldn't create anything to trouble goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon when he came on.
City, whose goals were provided by Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri, seemed to benefit from having its Premier League match against Sunderland on Wednesday postponed due to bad weather.
"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," Mourinho said. "It was easy to see the difference."