With Chelsea’s attacking players receiving plenty of plaudits in recent weeks and the goals going in, you could be forgiven for not noticing quite how well our defence have been doing of late, but we have conceded just three times in our last seven matches in all competitions, the ideal complement to the 19 goals we have scored in that time.
The collective errors that lead to Cardiff’s opener last weekend were soon forgotten during Tuesday night’s immaculate defensive showing against Schalke. Gary Cahill returned to the heart of our defence for that game and strongly contributed as we limited the German side to very few clear-cut opportunities. Jose Mourinho says he has no qualms changing our centre-back pairing from game to game such is his belief in our defensive options.
‘I don’t have a first pick for the centre of defence. I analyse things week by week, in relation to the way the players perform and to the opponents’ characteristics. I try to pick what I think is the best, but sometimes I can be wrong,’ Mourinho admitted.
‘It’s important for every player to know the principles of our play, and to know what to do facing certain situations in a game. The central defenders have to know each other and complement each other, but that is team work. The players that play in front of them are also very important.
‘Twenty years ago, you could start the season with two central defenders who play every match – that’s not possible any more. A team needs three of four central defenders, and we have that. With (Branislav) Ivanovic we even have five.
‘I am confident with them and I trust them all. You can see that because I make changes in big matches and I have no problems to do that because they are all very good players.’
Cahill started in place of David Luiz for the win in midweek, though the 26-year-old did make a late substitute appearance as we closed out the victory. The Brazilian was one of the players at fault for Cardiff’s goal last Saturday but Mourinho believes David Luiz is close to finding the consistency that will make him one of the best centre-backs in the world.
‘A team and a defensive player need stability. With the talent David Luiz has I think he can reach that stability.
‘Sometimes he makes a little mistake, and he has to work on that because it’s important for him and for the team, but he has the natural conditions to be a really top defender in the world of football.’
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