Jose Mourinho was understandably delighted after watching his side round off a perfect week and move to the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
Eden Hazard was undoubtedly the star of the show, scoring his first Chelsea hat-trick in our 3-0 win over Newcastle United, but collectively there was much to admire from another impressive display.
After a slow start, the Belgian broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, exchanging passes with Branislav Ivanovic and whipping his strike into the far corner. Six minutes later he extended our advantage in stunning fashion, combining with Samuel Eto’o and calmly placing the ball past Tim Krul without breaking stride.
The two-goal cushion allowed us to take control of proceedings, and Hazard completed hat-trick in the second half from the penalty spot after Eto’o was brought down by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Mohamed Salah was handed a debut late in the game, replacing Willian, and the Egyptian was unfortunate not to open his account, denied twice in quick succession, but with both Arsenal and Manchester City dropping points we moved to the top of the table, leaving the manager reflecting on a job well done.
On the performance
‘I think we are playing well, the first half was not the best example of that because we has some problems but generally we have been playing well for a long time. Individually we are in a good moment, the team are getting results and we are top of the league, that’s something you cannot hide,’ said the Portuguese.
‘In the first half there was lots of wind against us, Newcastle were pressing us and closing us in our half. My defenders never reached the midfield line, we never pressed them in their half and we weren’t building from the back. We were not controlling Sissoko’s runs, we were expecting him to play in a midfield position but Alan surprised us by playing Santon there, so it was difficult for us.’
Mourinho praised Petr Cech for his save from Sissoko just before we scored our second goal
‘Sissoko was in his face, my defensive line didn’t control the attack so it was a big save. It was the difference between the score being 1-1 and 2-0.’
On the individual display of Hazard
‘His performance today was no different to the way he’s performed in other games, the only difference was that he scored a hat-trick for the first time. It was a very similar performance to the ones he had at Hull, Man City, at home against United and Liverpool, at Southampton. He’s playing the same way. He’s playing really well, he’s had a big evolution, he has consistency, ambition and it’s fantastic.’
The manager also provided an update on John Terry and Fernando Torres
‘It’s not an injury, it’s almost an injury,’ he said of the captain. ‘We had a decision to make and the player didn’t play. We were aware Newcastle had bigger problems than us so we decided not to risk him and protect him. Hopefully he will be ready for Tuesday.
‘On Tuesday or City, by next week he’ll be back,’ he said when asked about a return for Torres. ‘We will try for Tuesday but if not it will be next Saturday.’
On the potential of his current side in comparison to the one during his first spell at the club
‘It’s different because they are not two equal teams and I don’t like to compare teams from different generations. My team here [during the first spell] was an amazing team and lasted almost a decade, winning lots of trophies.
‘Those players are already part of the history of the club and these players now are just starting. I don’t want to compare but potentially this team is good and hopefully we will have a good decade. Only John, Frank and a couple more are over 30, after that they are young guys with lots of years to play.’
He also looked ahead to a tricky game at West Brom on Tuesday
‘It’s a difficult stadium and they have a fantastic crowd. They defend well and have physical players for attacking and defensive set-pieces. Their midfield is well organised and they have talent in attack.
‘Gera is back, he wasn’t in the team for a long time. We only have two days to rest but it’s the same for both, only Arsenal have one day more. Arsenal played today and Manchester United play tomorrow, so they have 24 hours more but it happens.’
Alan Pardew, meanwhile, was full of praise for the Blues
‘We had a fantastic chance at 1-0 to throw some confusion into the game, but we missed it, and they went straight up the other end and made it 2-0,’ said the Newcastle manager.
‘They’re a good team, their work-rate was phenomenal today, particularly with the technical players they have.
‘Hazard’s got a great platform because the back four are tough, and they have Matic in front of them. His work-rate and everything about him was first-class today.
‘I’ve played against Chelsea teams under Mourinho many times and this is as good a side as he’s had.’