Jose Mourinho was delighted with the performance of his side as we came from behind to beat Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues fell behind inside the opening minute of the game when Jay Rodriguez capitalised on a short Michael Essien back-pass to give the visitors the lead, and that’s the way it remained until the break.
Demba Ba replaced Essien at the interval and after the striker had flicked a Branislav Ivanovic header against the foot of the post, Gary Cahill reacted quickest to head us level.
Seven minutes later the game was turned on its head when John Terry, making his 593rd appearance for the Blues, surpassing John Hollins to become the fourth-highest appearance maker in our history, rose highest to guide a Juan Mata cross into the far corner.
Ba put the seal on the victory when he stole in at the front post late on to score after brilliant build-up play by Ramires, rounding off an important victory, and one that takes us to within four points of leaders Arsenal.
Mourinho felt his side displayed great maturity with the way they responded to that early blow.
‘The goal was like a knife in my back, we weren’t ready for that and by surprise we were losing 1-0,’ said the Portuguese. ‘I knew everyone would be speaking about a very good second half but in the first half I thought we played very well. We played with balance, no silly decisions, no mistakes, not going from 1-0 to 2-0. Even my change, when I had to change Oscar, it looked defensive, because we replaced Oscar with Lampard, but it was to prepare for the second half.
‘I had to take Essien off and play with two strikers as he had a yellow card in a crucial area of the pitch. We went to 4-4-2 and we gave Southampton a different game, a game they didn’t expect and it was difficult for them to cope with the situation.’
On the decision to switch to 4-4-2
‘We were losing and not producing enough so I wanted to give the opponent new problem. They like to play out from the back and they stopped building from long which allowed us to play in their half and to start creating chances.
‘You can say the first two goals were set pieces, but they arrive and accumulate because we were so dominant. There were some good individual performances but collectively we deserved the three points in a match that was a must-win because we knew three title contenders lost points before us.’
On the performance of Juan Mata
‘It was good, in the second half he gave us what we needed, I needed him to come inside and be a bit of a winger and come inside and connect with the attacking players, he did that well.
‘We also needed him to control Luke Shaw because the kid goes forward, and he was also a big support to Ivanovic, so his performance was good.’
On Essien’s recovery after his early mistake
‘Everybody makes a mistake, strikers miss goals, keepers make mistakes and midfielders lose balls, especially when you try to play. He tried to play, it was a backpass and Rodriguez scored the goal.
‘He had a very normal performance, he played the same way Mikel plays, or the same way as David Luiz plays in midfield. He played his part, he played a part in the stability we had in the first half, but being on a yellow card for 45 minutes is a long time and I had to take one player off. It was a very normal decision; he’s my man, he’s a Chelsea man and there’s no problem, everybody makes mistakes.’
On the development and progression of his side
‘Step by step they are understanding my ideas and my mentality, feeling the responsibility, feeling that Chelsea cannot be completely out of the title race in December. They must feel the responsibility to play for Chelsea and that was a sign of maturity. They were losing after 10 seconds but kept calm.
‘My team is one with a profile where I can’t establish targets. I can’t say I want to win five consecutive matches or be top of the league. I just want to work with them, feed the young players, feed the team and if we do that we are there.
‘If you are 10-12 points behind you are building but you are not fighting for the title, if you are three, four or five behind you are building but you are fighting for the title. One of the things these boys need to learn is coping with the responsibility of being there, we cannot be 15 points behind by December, we have to be there.’
On our objectives for the season
‘If there are six title contenders and four Champions League spots, that is the first objective. After that you can think about being champions or qualifying automatically for the Champions League. The first objective is to try and be in the top four and consolidate it, it’s important for the prestige of the club, the economical situation of the club, so we have to try to be there. In this league if you lose two matches you go down to seventh or eighth, so it’s hard.’
On our next three games
‘We now have two matches away (Sunderland and Stoke City) and then Crystal Palace at home, we are playing three team who need points because of the position they are in so we will have three very difficult matches.’
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, felt Terry’s goal was the turning point.
‘We has a great start, we went 1-0 up which was amazing,’ he said. ‘In the second half before we conceded the goals we were doing quite well but when Chelsea go in front at home it’s very difficult to get back in the game.’