The Blues extended our lead at the top of the table to seven points with what was, ultimately, a convincing 4-0 win over Tottenham, equalling our biggest margin of victory against the north London side at home.
After a tight first half in which Tim Sherwood’s side marginally shaded it, the balance of the contest swung in our favour within the space of four second-half minutes.
Samuel Eto’o drove us in front when he capitalised on a Michael Dawson error, and when the striker was brought down inside the box soon after, the visitors received a double blow as Younes Kaboul was sent off and Eden Hazard doubled our lead from the penalty spot.
Two late goals by substitute Demba Ba compounded the visitors’ misery, capping a memorable day for Jose Mourinho’s side, who are still unbeaten at Stamford Bridge against Totenham since 1990.
Jose Mourinho always believed our moment would come…
On the performance
‘I preferred the second half to the first but it was a good game from the beginning,’ said the Portuguese. ‘We were prepared for that and a difficult opponent. In the first half we were calm, no panic or pressure.
‘We weren’t surprised at the way they came here and played, pressing the ball. The reality was that in the first half they had control but didn’t scare us. When you feel they are in control but even when they are in control they are not scaring you, you are calm.
‘You wait for your best moment to come, we know the best moment for us always comes, especially at Stamford Bridge. In the second half we changed our structure a bit, the game was better connected, the distance between the defenders and attackers was smaller because Oscar was filling that space.
‘You can say the first goal was a mistake but you can also say the way Eto’o read the mistake was fantastic and the way he put it through the legs of Lloris was amazing.
‘After that we were in complete control. It was easy to pass, easy to control, easy for our supporters to enjoy and easy for me to be calm against a very good opponent. To get three points was good.’
On what the result does for our top-four ambitions
‘The top four is ours to lose, now we are 13 points from Tottenham and 18 from Man United and Everton. Objective number one, the top four, is in our pocket, now let’s go for objective two, which is the top three and automatic qualification for the Champions League.’
Mourinho still believes it’s advantage Manchester City in the title race
‘If we win the next nine matches we may not be champions. If Man City win the 12 they have they are champions.
‘They have their destiny in their hands, we don’t. It doesn’t depend on us, it depends on them. I just know I would prefer to have my destiny in my own hands.’
The manager provided an update on Fernando Torres, who was injured in the warm-up
‘It was muscular, a big surprise because he didn’t go to the national team, he stayed with us and had his rest and training. Sometimes these things happen. In the warm-up he felt something in his groin, with muscles even with a little thing you are out for a couple of weeks. We lost him but the other two scored goals today, that’s the reason we want to have three strikers in the squad. For strikers, a goal is always a vitamin.’
On the decision to take Frank Lampard off at the break
‘He had a yellow in a game where there was a lot of midfield transitions, everybody in the middle of the park had a yellow card.
‘A game of transitions in that area is dangerous but also at the same time I wanted to change the structure, I wanted to play with somebody behind the attacking players. It was easy to make the decision, it was part tactical and partly because of the yellow card.’
Mourinho has been pleased with our defensive solidity of late
‘We know to win matches you need to score more goals than the opponent. What helps is if you don’t concede.
‘We work, analyse opponents and give feedback to the team. We try to find the best balance. Normally, when you make rotation in the team you do it with wingers because they can come in and change the game for 20-25 minutes.
‘Defensively you try to find a balance. I like Ivanovic at right-back more than in central defence. I like the understanding and stability between Terry and Cahill. At this moment, Azpilicueta is unbeatable. For many games I have not seen anybody get the better of him in individual duels. The team is compact, we have a good balance and we are playing well defensively.’
His opposite number, meanwhile, was unhappy with the way his side fell apart after we took the lead.
‘You’re 2-0 down with 10 men at Chelsea so you’re not going to win the game,’ said Sherwood. ‘But you expect to see a bit more gut, a bit more pride. I’m massively disappointed.’