FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: IN A GOOD POSITION
After winning 4-0 in Bucharest in our last Champions League game, the Blues recorded a second successive win on the road in the competition with a 3-0 victory against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, a result which takes us above the German side and into top spot in Group E.
Fernando Torres will dominate the headlines after scoring a brace in his first game back in the starting line-up since last month’s draw at Tottenham, but it was an impressive collective display from Jose Mourinho’s side, who are now unbeaten in seven.
The Blues took an early lead when Torres headed home from a Branislav Ivanovic flick, and the Spaniard doubled our lead in the 68th minute following excellent play on the break by Eden Hazard and Oscar. Hazard added a third late in the game.
When asked to single out an individual performance, Mourinho refused, and paid tribute to the all-round team effort.
‘It’s difficult, normally you go to the goalscorers, and Fernando and Eden played a very good game, but I think everything started with the way we defended,’ said the Portuguese. ‘My goalkeeper, my four defenders, Ramires and Lampard, they gave us fantastic stability, because we know the way Schalke play here and we knew that stability would give us the chance to be stable and to try to keep a clean sheet, but at the same time to recover the ball and find conditions to use the spaces that they normally give.
‘So the game was very good for us, we had a difficult period in the first half, which a team normally has, and in that period, the last 10-15 minutes of the first half, they were really dominant. After that we were very compact and solid, we were always dangerous and I think my team deserved the points.’
On the recent performances of his strikers
‘To be fair, there is one consistency I always want from them all, Fernando, Samuel and Demba, which is to work hard for the team.
‘Demba played against Norwich and did very well for us, Samuel played in the last game and did very well and Fernando tonight. They are giving us consistency and those performances make a difference. The winning goal against Cardiff was scored by Samuel and tonight Fernando scored the two most important goals in the game, that’s very good.
‘It will boost the team for sure and that’s the most important thing. What boosts him [Torres] is the confidence he knows I have in him. Samuel played a very good game against Cardiff and scored the goal. I felt Fernando was adapted to this game, but maybe if he’d played and the team didn’t get the result people would have asked why I changed it, but I put faith in him and he answered well, it’s a good feeling to score goals, winning goals in the Champions League.’
On our hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition
‘After the first game we were last because we lost at home and now we are top of the group. Because of my experience I was not in hell after the first game and I’m not in heaven after tonight, I’m calm.
‘I know we have two games at home, and I know normally we are going to get enough points to qualify. At this moment, with six points, we can think firstly about qualifying. After that we can maybe think about finishing first in the group, that’s what we will try to do. We were under pressure after the first game, after the second game we found a balance and now, after this victory, we are in a good position.’