Jose Mourinho was pleased to take all three points from Saturday’s late kick-off against Fulham, and confirmed he will be rotating the squad against Swindon on Tuesday.
After a goalless first half, Oscar struck after the break from close range before John Mikel Obi lashed home his first goal since January 2007 to double the lead and put us top of the table after five games, and arrest a run of four games without victory in all competitions.
Mourinho admitted the three points were more important than the performance against our west London neighbours, and responded to criticism over our supposedly poor start to the season.
‘When we played a very good game against Everton and lost, the way we played was not important,’ he said. ‘What we produced was not important. The important thing was we lost the game and lost three points. If you want to be pragmatic, we analyse the same way and the most important thing is the result.
‘It means that today we are top, tomorrow probably we are not top. The important thing is to be there, where is man u, where is arsenal, where is Tottenham. Some of them started the Premier League in a brilliant way, we started in a very bad way, and we are there, that’s good for us. I read it was a disaster.
‘I think it wasn’t good but the defeats are not defeats with a conclusion. If you lose a match, you don’t lose the Premier League. This is why people prefer to watch the Premier League, anything can happen. All the teams lost, every one of us lost a game and it looks like for the others to lose is a normal thing, and for us it’s the end of the world. But that’s fine.
‘We have to work on other things tomorrow, to work the team that is going to play, those I give days off have to enjoy their holiday, and try to win against Swindon. Now we have a period of four consecutive matches away. He beginning of the season is quite hard for us, we play Swindon, Tottenham, Norwich and Steaua away, so we have to prepare the best we can and everybody is going to play.’
After leaving him out of the squad today, Mourinho confirmed Juan Mata will face Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. He says the double Chelsea Player of the Year is not guaranteed action just because of previous performances. He said:
‘He trained this morning and my assistant that was training with them told me he trained very, very hard. Tuesday of course he plays from the beginning against Swindon. The people who didn’t play today are going to play. Juan and David Luiz and Michael Essien, Bertrand, and Azpilicueta. And I hope he tells me on the pitch, “You are wrong, I am the best and I have to play every game.”
‘The story doesn’t play. If the story , because I won two titles here, because I never lost a match here in the Premier League, nobody would criticise me but people criticise me. The past is the past and you have to be judged on what you do now. I gave Juan the chance to play from the beginning against Aston Villa, against Everton.
‘I have to create a balance in the bench. I must have players to cover every position. That’s what I have to do. I have Azpilicueta to give cover to the full-backs and central defence, because Ivanovic can go central defender, Essien as a central midfielder, Lampard for his traditional position, and three attacking players, one striker and after that De Bruyne and Willian.’
Finally, there was praise for Mikel, who broke his 261-game goal drought that had lasted since Mourinho’s first spell in charge.
‘Good for him, good for us. I think good for his confidence. And I think people enjoyed seeing John score a goal. The goal was a shot in a set-piece, in a corner, a rebound, the finishing was good and he was in the position, but the important thing for me is he played a good game, he gave balance and stability. He kept very good control of the game, so I am happy with the way John is playing.’
Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, was a little disappointed in his side but admitted Chelsea’s improvement after the break was decisive.
‘They couldn’t find the space, they couldn’t find the solution, and that’s the moment you have to punish them,’ he said. ‘We couldn’t do that. In the second half they stepped up a gaer and were more aggressive than us. It showed with the first goal.
‘We needed a little bit more. The first half was okay but if you play away matches like we do you have to do a little bit more to get results.’