Chelsea head to Old Trafford for the first away game of the season with two home victories under our belt. The second came against an Aston Villa side which had certain aspects of their game that gave the Blues a strong test.
That was the view of Jose Mourinho after he watched Branislav Ivanovic’s header in the second half seal the win, and he saw good qualities from his players too. An own-goal had given Chelsea the lead with Christian Benteke equalising just before the interval.
There were disputed second-half decisions, as well as chances for the visitors from the Midlands before the end…
‘If we are here with a draw it would not be an unfair result,’ Mourinho conceded after the game.
‘Aston Villa fought a lot for a result, they don’t play a lot because every ball the goalkeeper has he kicks, but they created great difficulties and probably if Petr Cech did not save a shot at the far post from Weimann we don’t even get a point.
‘Villa have a special player with special qualities and they use him. The goalkeeper has a great kick and Benteke is fantastic in the first ball and they play from this. They have this and they have the counter-attack and we handled the counter-attack fantastically because we played with great balance. But the situation with Benteke it is difficult to control because you can’t press the goalkeeper – he kicks the ball and after that everything is born from Benteke.
‘The great thing today is Villa gave us a different match and we coped; defensively we were strong. We could do better with the ball and maybe my decision to change only two players for the start was not the best, maybe we should have had more fresh players, but we fought hard.’
On whether Benteke ever entered his thoughts as a Chelsea transfer target and if Chelsea might make another bid for Wayne Rooney before the game v Man United…
‘Benteke is a great player but for a certain style of football. We try to play a different style.
‘I don’t want Chelsea to do it before we go to Old Trafford, and the board share my opinion. There is time to do things, but this period from an ethical point of view we are going to be quiet and thinking just about that game.’
On suggestions that John Terry should have been penalised for a handball in the area and Ivanovic been sent-off for a coming together with Benteke…
‘Terry’s was a free-kick against Aston Villa. When somebody pushes an opponent, especially in the box in dangerous areas, it is free-kick against you.
‘The world loves English football rather than other leagues for reasons and one is duels that are handled in a certain way, and the ref did very well. For 90 minutes there was a real football fight between Benteke and Ivanovic.’
Explaining why with Demba Ba starting the game, Fernando Torres was not among the subs…
‘Sometimes you can have two strikers on the bench but this game I needed a different balance on the bench because I may have to play Azpilicueta because he is very fast, maybe I need Mikel’s experience, I needed options in wingers and I know Mata cannot play for 90 minutes at this moment. I try to give my three strikers time on the pitch and this time Fernando stayed out but Lukaku can say he is the only one that hasn’t started a game.’
On his opposite number Paul Lambert…
‘Paul is a certain type of personality and he reminds me of myself 10 years ago when I was complaining every decision, when I wanted to coach the team and have at the same time a whistle in my lips. With experience he will change but he is a young manager and very intelligent because he plays very well, adapted to the quality of his players and I wish him well, I like him.
Villa boss Lambert, unhappy with two decisions, described his team as outstanding and a threat in the second half. On Mourinho’s words about him he said:
‘He is a brilliant football manger and he has done it in many countries so it is a nice complement – but Jose doesn’t stand there like a shrinking violet.’