FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: SPECIAL SPIRIT

Quite whether the Stamford Bridge crowd, and the millions of Chelsea followers watching on TV, were still enjoying the match as Jose Mourinho had hoped when the clock clicked on to five minutes to go is uncertain, but there was certainly joy in the air soon after once Demba Ba scored the late goal that clinched Champions League progress, and there was also satisfaction when it came to discussing the match afterwards.

There is every reason for Mourinho to be labelled a ‘quarter-master’ having never failed at this stage of the competition, and Chelsea once again showed we never know when we are beaten on the European stage.

It was another emotion – pride – that the manager talked about when he considered the 2-0 second-leg win, with Andre Schurrle’s first-half goal having set the ball rolling in the recovery from the defeat in France…

‘The players, they follow our plan, our ambition – we all win together, we all lose together, but without any energy to go home,’ said Mourinho.

‘At the end of a game we either have to be so happy with the result or so happy with ourselves, and we are lucky because we have the result we fought for. But if we had not scored the second goal or if PSG had scored at the final corner and we had gone out, I think everyone in this club would have been proud with what the boys did.

‘It is a good victory but having reached so many semi-finals for me and so many reached by Chelsea, it is nothing extraordinary. It is good because we lost 3-1 away and to change that result is always difficult but the players are not jumping in the dressing room.’

With Samuel Eto’o passed fit, the Cameroonian started and was added to in the second half by substitutes Ba and Fernando Torres as Chelsea pushed for victory…
‘I am happy for Demba, he’s a good guy, a good pro and a good group man,’ said Mourinho, ‘and the fact I brought him on before Torres made him feel he doesn’t have “No.3 striker” on this back. His enthusiasm was fantastic and he gave problems to PSG they don’t normally have in the French League. His goal means a lot for him and for the club.’

When Ba’s goal went in, Mourinho sprinted down the touchline to be with the players, but it was not a reconstruction of his famous run at Old Trafford when Porto boss…
‘It was not to celebrate, it was to tell the players how we had to play the last minutes because I know in that moment they want to celebrate, they want to think that the game is over, and the way we were playing we couldn’t carry on winning 2-0.

‘So I had to go there because I knew it was the only chance I had to tell Demba and Fernando and Andre Schurrle what they had to do in the final seven or eight minutes – but you can see that I can run!’

On an otherwise night to cherish, Eden Hazard unfortunately came off early with an injury…
‘It is a calf,’ reported Mourinho. ‘After 10 minutes he was saying he cannot do it and even when muscle injuries are not serious it is normally a couple of weeks out minimum, but I have no idea of the dimension of the injury.’

Looking ahead to the semi-finals with the draw at 11am on Friday (UK time)…
‘If the quarter-finals had eight fantastic teams, imagine the four that are going to reach the semis. A big opponent is waiting for us but it doesn’t matter who, they know we are a team with a special spirit, even if we are not at the maximum of our potential because Matic and Salah cannot play and now Ivanovic is suspended. We are going to enjoy it, the same way I told the players we have to enjoy this game.’

Paris St-Germain manager Laurent Blanc thought Chelsea’s greater experience in such encounters told in the end…
‘We had a number of things that didn’t work tonight and some that did,’ he said.

‘We started better than in the first leg, then we conceded when we least expected, and in the second half Chelsea were a lot better. We might have scored on the counter attack, but ultimately Chelsea believed right to the end and they were rewarded, and good luck to them.’

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