Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea not pretty but effective against PSG

By Steven Beacom

Respect . You may not be able to stand their manager, some of the antics of their players can be unsavoury and they rarely play the beautiful game, but what the modern day Chelsea side do better than most is get the job done. You have to respect them for that.

Last night's 2-0 victory over Paris St Germain, which kept them alive in this season's Champions League, summed up why Chelsea have been so successful in recent years.

Of course the millions owner Roman Abramovich has invested in the club is the key component behind all the trophies, but the silverware would not have piled up at Stamford Bridge without the desire, fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude of the men on the pitch.

All those qualities were on display as the Blues won on away goals on another famous night for the west London club when super subs Andre Schurrle, in the first half, and Demba Ba, in the dying moments, found the net.

They are in the semi-finals of the competition they won so dramatically in 2012 and no one will fancy facing them or Jose Mourinho now. Mourinho has previously won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, but in his first spell as Chelsea boss, he failed to be the king of Europe.

If he were to go all the way with his beloved Blues it would be the most special one of all.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg after gifting PSG their goals, Chelsea had a big mountain to climb to emerge victorious, but assuming they would be much more solid at the back this time, it was more Ben Nevis than Everest. For all their money from Qatar and a growing band of big name players, PSG are not the finished article and lack the ruthlessness required on this stage. That was illustrated when £55 million striker Edinson Cavani missed a sitter in the second half when he should have killed off the tie.

PSG could learn a great deal from Chelsea's winning mentality. The Blues don't cruise or glide past the opposition. What they do is power to victory.

If Liverpool and Manchester City play football like a Ferrari, Chelsea are more of steamroller. They wear rivals down.

Leading 1-0 thanks to Schurrle, who impressed after coming on for the injured Eden Hazard, Chelsea were unfortunate when the German and then Oscar hit the bar in quick succession after the break. Other sides would have cursed their luck. Not Chelsea. They dug in even more searching for the goal that would send them through.

It was far from pretty. In the final 10 minutes they just lofted high hopeful balls into the area. It was like West Ham without Andy Carroll!

The Chelsea fans didn't care one little bit though when one of those high hopeful balls led to Ba scrambling home the decisive goal with 87 minutes on the clock. Some of those supporters had probably forgotten Ba was still a Chelsea player, he has been used so sparingly by Mourinho.

Typically Jose threw him on at just the right time leading to thousands of blue and white plastic flags being waved around the stadium in celebration and belief that this could be their year in the Champions League once again.

With Chelsea and Mourinho, anything is possible.

Belfast Telegraph


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