Jose Mourinho was pleased to celebrate his birthday with a win, and says he can’t wait for the fifth-round game at Manchester City next month.
A place in the next round was secured thanks to Oscar’s moment of individual brilliance in the first half, dipping a free-kick into the very corner of Asmir Begovic’s net. Our manager believed we were unfortunate not to extend that advantage, denied by the Bosnian keeper on a number of occasions and also by the woodwork, twice.
Mourinho jovially promised to bring some champagne to his next press conference on Tuesday, where he will preview the West Ham game to be played the following game. Another victory against the Hammers would be our eighth in a row.
We will face Manchester City at the Etihad in the next round of the FA Cup on the weekend of the 15/16 February, a match-up that suits him just fine.
‘That’s a good draw,’ Mourinho said. ‘Our priority for the season is to improve, and the best way to improve is through difficult things. To play against the best team twice in 15 days in their stadium, where they win every game, smash every team, score four or five goals every game even against the big teams like Arsenal, Spurs and Man United. It’s a good thing for us.
‘If we lose, we lose against the best; if we don’t lose then it’s fantastic. We are ready to go there and enjoy, go there with a good attitude with nothing to lose. They have everything to lose because they are the team that is made to win, like we were in my first time here.’
Not for the first time recently, Mourinho was pleased with the level of our performance
‘We played a very good game again: the 1-0 doesn’t reflect the quality of our game and the dominance of our game.
‘It’s a bit of a contradiction because we played so well but we won with a free-kick. Normally when you play this well you win by scoring some amazing goals from open play. We had some fantastic play, individual choices, and very good collective movements against a team that is difficult.
‘The free-kick obviously makes us happy because Oscar dedicates some time every day after the normal training session to train on a specific thing. We hit the post twice, Begovic again showed how good he is. We had great shots, fantastic actions, great saves.
‘The boys played very well but obviously in the last 10 minutes when we don’t score the goal to kill the game everything is open with 1-0. They were direct and tried to put some pressure on us but we controlled the game from the first minute, and I’m happy not just with the victory but also the performance.’
Nemanja Matic made his full debut for the club
‘He played very well, very comfortable, with a big stability with Lampard by his side. He was very comfortable on the pitch; for sure he stole lots of balls and his passes were always quality. He used his physicality not to dominate Peter Crouch because that is impossible but to make it difficult for him.
‘I think he is comfortable in any game because he is good defensively against this kind of team but he is very comfortable with the ball. His left foot is soft, the ball always comes sweet and the decision is always an easy, simple one. The team flies when somebody makes it so simple.’
Mohamed Salah’s transfer from Basel was confirmed moments after full-time
‘First of all, it is good because he doesn’t score against Chelsea! Speaking seriously, we had to react to the Mata situation which was unexpected. We tried to go for a young, left-footed, fast player who is fast in the space. He is the kind of player that looks for space and tries to get behind people. He is a good choice and a good option.’
Mourinho explained how the rest of his birthday would pan out
‘I will have dinner with my wife and my children and a couple of friends, that’s it. You want me to celebrate 51 years old?! You want me to remember that I am 51?! The best birthday present is to be with my family. I will have a dinner where I don’t have to pretend I am happy, I will have a dinner where I am happy!’
Mourinho’s opposite number, our former striker Mark Hughes, was pleased with his side’s efforts but admitted they lost to a moment of magic.
‘It was a fantastic strike, but we were a little bit disappointed with the initial awarding of the free-kick because we felt there was very little contact,’ said Hughes. ‘But you have to hold your hands up when a player produces a bit of quality like Oscar did.
‘I thought we stuck at it and we were right in it until the very end of the game, but we didn’t force the issue enough to change the game in our direction. Overall I think Chelsea on the day deserved to go through.’