Jose Mourinho expressed his delight with the performance of his players after we brought the season to an end with a 2-1 win at Cardiff City.
After falling behind early in the game to a deflected Craig Bellamy strike, we equalised through substitute Andre Schurrle, before Fernando Torres fired home the winner three minutes later.
Liverpool’s win against Newcastle ensured we finished the campaign third in the Barclays Premier League table.
Mourinho acknowledged there are ways in which his side need to improve next season, but praised them for today’s display.
‘We deserved it, we played well, especially for an end-of-season game, when a team is playing for nothing apart from pride and evolution,’ he said. ‘The boys found the right approach, that we couldn’t find against Norwich. From the first minute we played well, we created chances.
‘The result at half time was a contradiction because we had all the play, all the chances, and Cardiff were winning the game. In the second half they pushed even harder, Andre was an extra man in attacking areas and we really deserved the victory.
‘It means nothing, we know we finished third but the feeling is good. The team played well, I’m a bit sad because today you can see how much we’ve missed Oscar in the last two or three months but it’s a good way to finish the season.’
On the third-place finish
‘It’s part of a process, one thing is to play clearly to win the title, another is to be in a transitional phase. It’s a dangerous league where you can finish first or fifth, and be out of the Champions League. Third is not a drama, we have to accept it’s in a transitional period. Next season we have to start trying to be stronger than we were this season, if we do our work in a successful way during the summer market, which I know the club is trying to do, I will start day one by saying we are going to fight for the title.
‘This the first season of a new period. We are doing the work and we think we are doing it well. We are not asking for eight, nine or 10 years for success. It almost happened but the games against Villa and Sunderland made it difficult.’
Mourinho was asked whether Ashley Cole had played his last game for the club
‘I don’t know but I don’t think so. He wasn’t captain to say goodbye in a nice way, he was the player on the pitch who has been here longest. He arrived before Ivanovic so we gave him the armband as a consequence of that, not because it was his last minutes.’
Mourinho also thinks Fernando Torres will remain at the club
‘I think he will be at Chelsea, I don’t know, the summer is a long summer. I said to my assistants I can’t believe I have to wait three months for my next competitive game, that’s three months without a real match.
‘I will have to be involved in Soccer Aid and Unicef matches, during three months a lot can happen. Samuel Eto’o finished his contract with the club so the normal situation is that he’s leaving, we want to bring in a striker but Fernando and Demba have contracts and I’m happy with that. It’s no problem for me if they stay at the club as long as they are happy.’
He also outlined a few areas where he will hope to improve next season
‘The first half was the same at Everton, we should have been winning 5-0 and we’re losing 1-0. It was the same at Newcastle, where we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up at half-time. At Stoke in the first half we should have been three or four up and they scored just before half-time.
‘We can improve as a team, we can improve our killer instinct, we need to score more goals with less chances because we needa lot of chances to score.
‘Today we played with Oscar, Hazard, Salah, young players in creative areas and we played well. Mikel and Matic, players with great maturity, were very good, so I’m happy. I want to start pre-season as soon as possible.’
‘We don’t need a new spine, the structure is there. We need a couple of players to help the team get to a certain level immediately. After that, if somebody wants to leave, somebody has to come but basically our work in the summer isn’t a big amount. It’s about the right choices and trying to be successful.’