Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea win but Jose Mourinho fears a shark attack

By Mark Bryans

Jose Mourinho is keen to avoid one of the "sharks in the ocean" circling his Chelsea team ahead of Monday's draw for the Champions League knockout stages.

The Blues were already assured of top spot in Group G but confirmed their dominance with a 3-1 home victory over Sporting Lisbon.

Cesc Fabregas' early penalty set the tone for a comfortable evening at Stamford Bridge and further goals from Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel came either side of Jonathan Silva's response.

The result, coupled with Schalke's victory over Maribor, meant the Portuguese club failed to make the last 16.

While Chelsea have avoided the likes of fellow group winners Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, sleeping giants such as Paris St Germain and Juventus finished second in their pools and could prove tricky knockout opponents.

When asked if his in-form side might go on to win the tournament for a second time in four years, Mourinho - a two-time Champions League winner with Porto and Inter Milan - said: "Last year we were close and we didn't have the team playing at such a high level as we do this season so we can dream we will do it.

"But let's see if the sharks let us, because there are a few sharks in the ocean."

Turning his attention to the game, the Portuguese added: "We focused very seriously and I'm so happy about that.

"I am sorry for Sporting and I would have liked them to qualify but I would have only liked them to qualify because Chelsea didn't need a result. Schalke needed a result.

"But we have to do our job, we are professionals and cannot make friends in football, so I am happy with my players' attitude."

Goalscorer Schurrle added: "We don't fear anybody but we know that there are very good, strong teams in this competition. If we play at our best, we can win against anybody."

The midweek victory followed a rare league defeat for the Blues, whose chances of going the whole Premier League season unbeaten ended at Newcastle last weekend. The Blues host Hull City on Saturday.

And Schurrle feels his team-mates have responded in the best possible way to the setback.

He added: "We wanted to win after the defeat. We bounced back, we had a good game and now we're looking forward to the next round.

"I felt good to be out on the pitch," said the German.

"I'm getting better and my body's not where I want it to be but I'm working hard to get my old strength back."

Belfast Telegraph


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