Jose Mourinho was able to reflect on a good response to the weekend defeat at Newcastle, as the Champions League campaign stayed on course with a second 3-0 win over Schalke in the group stage.
The Blues are three points clear at the top of our group thanks to two goals from Samuel Eto’o and one from Demba Ba, allied to a defensive display at Stamford Bridge that was strong after the opening minutes.
Mourinho, as he announced was certain in the wake of the St James’ Park setback, made six changes to the side, but he downplayed his action speaking after Wednesday night’s win…
‘It was nothing to do with dropping this player or that player, it was to do with the team’s mentality, and they were strong,’ he said.
‘We started a bit nervous and made a lot of mistakes. We lost a lot of balls in dangerous positions and we allowed Schalke to counter-attack with some danger. They had two good situations but after that our team recovered the balance and we controlled the game.
‘We had comfortable possession, recovering the ball and playing in an aggressive way, attacking the spaces with two, three or four players. When we lost the ball we were aggressive the way we pressed and the way we defended.
‘Our three guys behind the striker – Schurrle, Oscar and Willian – were very strong when the team lost the ball, very strong recovering positions and when the team was winning the ball, they were very strong attacking spaces with good pace. We won in quite a comfortable way.
‘The Basel defeat put us in a difficult situation and it is fantastic that after the fourth fixture we are almost qualified.’
On whether Samuel Eto’o is one of his favourite players…
‘My favourite players are the players that win matches for me, not the ones that lose matches for me, and Samuel worked with me in the best season of my career when we won everything [at Inter], so he is in a good position.
‘He was for two years at Anzhi playing without big motivation and you lose condition, sharpness and even appetite. It was not a surprise for me that he arrived here not in the best condition. Now step by step he is coming. He is 32 but he is a naturally fit, slim guy and goals give confidence. The second goal is a very good collective goal. Willian’s choice of pass was fantastic, Ramires’s run to give an extra option to Willian was fantastic and Samuel’s movement was brilliant.’
Mourinho was asked to confirm if Eden Hazard was left out of the game due to missing a training session…
‘I don’t want to lie, he is not injured,’ said the manager. ‘He is a kid and kids make mistakes and fathers, they have to be clever in the way they educate their sons. He didn’t play, he wanted to play, he is sad because he didn’t play, we won without him and Saturday he is back, end of story.’
On Fernando Torres’s adductor muscle injury that meant he missed this game…
‘We hope that he is back after the international games but of course no chance for this weekend. ‘And still a doubt to be back after that. It is not the biggest one but it is two or three weeks for a muscular injury.’
Schalke manager Jens Keller was understandably regretful over the mistake by his goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand that led to the opening goal…
‘We started really well and had three chances,’ he said. ‘Tactically we did well but you have to use one of those chances and when we conceded the first goal it was a huge mistake and then Chelsea could play as they wanted. After half-time Cech saved very well and it was extra class by Eto’o and the way they worked the second goal. At 2-0 down against a team like Chelsea it is very difficult to come back.’