Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Jose Mourinho hails Chelsea as they show their class over FC Schalke

Double act: Samuel Eto'o and Jose Mourinho celebrate Chelsea's first goal in their victory over Schalke at Stamford Bridge
Double act: Samuel Eto'o and Jose Mourinho celebrate Chelsea's first goal in their victory over Schalke at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was relieved after his side hit back after their horror show against Newcastle United as the Blues took another step towards a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Samuel Eto'o scored twice in the Group E clash and Demba Ba rounded off the scoring.

Responding to Saturday's 2-0 loss at Newcastle which ended a six-match winning run, Mourinho wanted to see a response from his men and he was happier at the finish.

"I think it was good [response] but of course the first 15 minutes were difficult, we were a team without big maturity and stability after the defeat on Sunday," he said.

"After that we played very well and kept possession in a comfortable way and after the first goal we played well.

"I know Petr Cech made a fantastic save for a possible 1-1 but everybody worked hard and made defensive work especially the wingers against their full-backs."

Eto'o celebrated his opener, which came after Schale goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand kicked it against the striker and saw the ball go into his own net, by rubbing heads with Mourinho.

And the Chelsea supremo revealed he told his striker to close down the goalkeeper.

"I told him that," he added. "I know the keeper from Portugal and Spain because he was there and we know Schalke likes to play back passes and play from the back with the keeper so Samuel was clever in the way he closed him down."

Mourinho also explained why he left Eden Hazard out of the team.

He added: "I prefer to say that Willian and Andre Schurrle made fantastic work for us.

"We have a big squad, we have players with quality, players who sometimes are frustrated because they are not first options but when they are chosen they do so well.

"The other thing for me is Cesar Azpilicueta played in position which is not his first and he did so well.

"Let's forget Eden because on Saturday he will be with the team.

"We know his talent, he will be on the bench or playing, but he will be in the squad for sure."

Chelsea defender John Terry said: "It was a good win and a good response after the weekend.

"We were shaky in the first 10 minutes, but after that and the first goal we settled down and started to play.

"We were bitterly disappointed dropping three points [at Newcastle], we wanted to respond and I thought we did that."

In the absence of leg injury victim Fernando Torres, who scored twice in the 3-0 win in Gelsenkirchen two weeks ago, Eto'o stepped up as the 2012 European Champions moved on to nine points, three clear of nearest rivals Schalke in the standings with two games to play.

Chelsea's lucky break came on the half-hour but there was nothing lucky about the second as Eto'o, previously a Champions League winner with Barcelona and Mourinho's Inter Milan, converted clinically.

There was to be no hat-trick as Demba Ba replaced him 13 minutes from time and struck his first goal of the season to seal victory.

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