Jose Mourinho admitted that for one evening he had changed from being the happy one to the sad one after West Ham’s tactical plan earned the visitors a point from a stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea, who struck woodwork twice, were not without other chances, particularly close to the end of each half, but Sam Allardyce’s side whose threat was limited to a first-half header saved by Petr Cech and a missed opportunity by the returning Andy Carroll after the break, were able to keep the Blues at bay by packing their penalty area for long periods of the game…
‘It is very difficult to play a match when only one team wants to play,’ said Mourinho after the 0-0 draw that keeps Chelsea third in the table.
‘Football matches are about two teams playing but because West Ham needed points they came here the way they did.
‘Is it acceptable? Maybe yes,’ he added. ‘I don’t want to criticise too much because if I was in their position I don’t know if I would do the same. But at the same time this is not football from the Premier League, the best league in the world, this football from the 19th Century.
‘I am happy with my players. Especially in the second half the West Ham goalkeeper saved a lot but also other players without gloves, they saved a lot. They had five defenders who looked more goalkeepers than defenders.
‘They threw their bodies at the ball, they slid, they gave a lot, so my respect to their spirit and their effort but my team tried everything. They played, they created, the goalkeeper saved, so I cannot complain about my people.’
Mourinho was asked how Allardyce reacted to being told his team earned their point with ’19th century’ football…
‘He was laughing,’ replied Mourinho. ‘His objective was won – to come here and take a point. His objective was not to come here and win, come here and feel part of the quality of the Premier League. His objective was to come for a point. He takes that and for that he is a happy man and I am sad at this moment, so congratulations to Sam.’
Thoughts quickly turn to Monday night and our visit to Manchester City who went top of the table with a big win over Tottenham in Wednesday evening’s other Premier League game in London…
‘For how long have I said the same thing,’ pointed out Mourinho, ‘that one thing is a team that is an end product and one thing is a team that is taking time to build, so that is not a surprise.
‘But we go there on Monday and Man City are favourites, but the result at the moment is 0-0.’
Allardyce rated his team’s game as second only to their own big win at Spurs in terms of this season’s achievements…
‘That’s because of the problems we have had recently and our position,’ explained the Hammers boss.
‘It was a fantastic resilient performance and it was about frustrating a team with world class players in two areas – stopping Eto’o, Oscar, Willian and Hazard from scoring because they score a lot of goals, and stopping Chelsea from set pieces which they are really good at.’