FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: WELL DESERVED VICTORY

Apr 05, 2014 Posted Under: News

The Blues returned to winning ways, and the top of the Barclays Premier League table, courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.

After dominating for much of the first half, the deadlock was broken just after the half-hour mark when Mohamed Salah, making his first start for the club, converted from a Nemanja Matic cross.

Frank Lampard extended our lead in the second half when, after seeing his penalty saved by Asmir Begovic, the midfielder reacted quickest to score from the rebound, and Willian capped an impressive display with a fine individual strike to make it 3-0.

Jose Mourinho, who is yet to lose a league game at Stamford Bridge, started the game with both Eden Hazard and Oscar on the bench, although the Belgian was introduced midway through the second half.

The Portuguese was pleased with the way his side reacted to two disappointing defeats in succession.

‘It took 10 or 15 minutes to recover a bit of self-esteem and confidence after two defeats,’ said the Portuguese.

‘After that the team played well, especially in the first half. I liked the way we played for 25-30 minutes in the first half. In the second half with the second goal the match was under control. We deserved the points, we go back to victories, it’s an important three points for the Premier League but it’s also important because it’s one thing to start Tuesday’s match after a defeat, but another to start that game after a victory.’

Andre Schurrle limped out of the game following a tough Charlie Adam tackle, but Mourinho expects to have him available for Tuesday’s game against Paris Saint-Germain.
‘I believe he will be okay to play. I like aggressive football and I can’t get inside the mind of a player to decide if the intention was to hurt or not, so it’s fine for me.’

On the performance of Willian, who thrived in a central role
‘The goal was really good but I think a player with his quality, that gives so much to the team, not just in possession but in the defensive work and balance of the team, I want to see him score more goals. He has to do that in the second season, he has to bring his game into other levels.’

Mourinho was equally pleased with Mohamed Salah’s display on his first start
‘Chelsea did very well, we sold a great player [Juan Mata], a finished product in the best moment of his career. We bought a kid from a different habitat, an Egyptian player playing in Switzerland.

‘We know he needs time, we know next season he will be an important player for us. This season, step by step, he’s playing 10 minutes here and there. You can feel the connection between him and the crowd; the crowd like him, they like his style of play.

‘He’s the type of player we need because we have wingers who prefer to play with the ball at their feet, he’s the type of player who prefers the ball into space. Chelsea did very well to bring him, next season with him, Eden, Willian and Oscar, they will have more strength and experience, they have a good future.’

The manager believes our players need to adapt to the challenges playing away from home brings
‘At home they feel more comfortable, the team has more of the ball and the opponents aren’t so aggressive. At home it’s a good way to become better but in the Premier League you play 19 at home and 19 away.

‘Obviously you must get more points at home but away you have matches where the players need to change their profile, they have to adapt to the situation but it takes time.’

The clean sheet was our eighth in a row at home, and Mourinho is hopeful of another on Tuesday
‘If we concede one goal against Paris or keep a clean sheet we have a chance. If we concede two and have to score five, we can’t do the job, so it’s important to defend well.

‘A clean sheet would be perfect but even if we concede one goal we have a chance to give them a fight.’

Former Chelsea striker Mark Hughes was disappointed with the performance of his Stoke side.

‘We didn’t have enough players at their maximum today,’ he said. ‘You can’t come to Stamford Bridge and have that. We weren’t able to ask enough questions of a good Chelsea team.

‘They carry a strong squad and the players that come in and come off the bench are of a high quality.’

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