Jose Mourinho gave full credit to Basel in the wake of their victory tonight and says he knows why the Blues’ performance was so disappointing.
We struggled to get a foothold on the game throughout and were grateful to Petr Cech for some important saves, particularly before the interval. Improvement was made in the second half but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat, with Mohamed Salah’s winner four minutes from time the least the Swiss champions deserved for their dominance.
A goalless draw in Group E’s other game, between Steaua Bucharest and Schalke, guarantees our progression to the next phase of this year’s Champions League.
‘The only positive thing is that we go through, but not because we got the result,’ said Mourinho.’ In the end we qualified which is our first objective and now we have the last match at home to finish first.
‘Today I want to praise Basel. They won because we were sleeping in the last minute but they won also because they were the best team and they deserved to win.’
Mourinho offered an explanation for his side’s poor performance
‘I can only find one aspect. From the first minute I was getting signs of that. My team was tired.
‘They paid the price today for the international week. I was afraid of the reaction in the game against West Ham. Maybe because the game was of an outstanding importance for us the team focused and everybody gave a great individual performance and a great collective performance.
‘Today we made mistakes defensively, we made mistakes with the ball, we lost easy passes, we lost every second ball, people were thinking late and making late decisions, and we finished with a ridiculous goal.’
Mourinho described his pre-game dilemma
‘Maybe I could make more changes from the game on Saturday for today but when the players play so well there’s a big temptation to keep the team and the players that played so well.
‘I spoke with all of them individually and of course all of them told me they were perfect to play. Some were so-so but others were really in trouble today. I could see many signs of fatigue, but I don’t want to take the credit away from the opponent because they were better than us.’
Mourinho was frustrated with the manner in which we conceded
‘Everybody was asleep. The ball was in play, the goalkeeper had the ball. When you are tired you sleep, you think slow, you react late. Even in attacking situations when we were in the Basel box in the last 25 minutes we thought slow when we had chances to shoot, we had no sharpness.’
The manager said of Samuel Eto’o’s condition
‘Samuel has a muscular injury. We have to wait two days, we have to do scans. I don’t know the dimension of it yet.’
Mourinho finished by assessing his options ahead of a busy December
‘This situation maybe helps me to make decisions when we have consecutive matches. I got signs of fatigue and players having trouble to play two consecutive matches in three days. That will push me for sure to make different decisions. That’s obvious.
‘In some positions we have that situation resolved in a very easy way, because we have lots of players to play the attacking positions behind the strikers to try to give the team the sharpness it needs to win every game.
‘We will make decisions but it’s not a question of punishment; it’s a question of using the squad and the options we have.’