Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mourinho hails ''special'' Blues

Jose Mourinho believes
Chelsea's "special spirit" was
key in overcoming Paris St
Germain and will worry
whoever is pitted against them
in the UEFA Champions League
Having suffered a 3-1 defeat in
the French capital last week it
looked a big ask for the west
Londoners to progress from
their quarter-final against the
big-spending Parisians.

However, substitute Andre
Schurrle gave Chelsea hope in
the first half and fellow
replacement Demba Ba - a
boyhood PSG fan - netted late
on to secure a 2-0 win that saw
them progress on away goals,
with the tie ending 3-3 on

It stretches Mourinho's
unbeaten run in European
quarter-finals to nine and,
having won the tournament
with Porto and Inter Milan,
raises possibility of Chelsea
repeating their 2012 success.
"We are in the semi-finals and if
the quarter-finals had eight
fantastic teams, imagine the
four that are going to reach the
semi-finals," Mourinho said.

"Anything can happen. A big
opponent is waiting for us in
the semi-final, but I think it
doesn't matter who.
"They know that we are a team
with a special spirit, even if we
are not in the maximum of our
potential. [Nemanja] Matic and
[Mohamed] Salah cannot play in
the Champions League and we
always have somebody
suspended. It was Ramires
today, the next one is
[Branislav] Ivanovic.
"But, for sure, we are going to
enjoy the same way I told the
players we had to enjoy this
second leg in the quarter-final.

We have to enjoy to play against
the great opponent waiting for
Chelsea are joined in the semi-
finals by Real Madrid after they
overcame a scare in Germany to
sneak past Borussia Dortmund.
A clash with the Madrid giants
would set up a fascinating clash
with the club Mourinho left last
summer, but is not one he is
particularly hoping for. Asked if
he wanted to face them, he said
after a pause: "No, not really.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico,
Bayern, Manchester - it doesn't
Mourinho's calm demeanour in
the post-match press
conference was a far cry from
the animated character seen on
the touchlines.
The Portuguese celebrated Ba's
late winner by bolting down the
touchlines in scenes similar to
those witnessed when Porto
knocked out Manchester United
at Old Trafford en route to his
Champions League success a
decade ago. "No, it was not to
celebrate," he said with a smile.

"It was to tell the players how
we have to play the last 10
"I knew at that moment they
wanted to celebrate, they
wanted to think the game is
over. They forget that they had
three plus another three or four
minutes to play and the way we
were playing we couldn't carry
on winning 2-0.
"I had to go there because I
knew it would be the only
chance I'd have to tell Demba,
Fernando [Torres] and Schurrle
what we have to do in the last
seven minutes. It was not to
celebrate, but you could see that
I can still run."
The only negative on the night
for Chelsea was an injury to this
season's star man Eden Hazard,
who was forced off after 18
minutes through injury. "When
he comes off after 10 minutes,
he was saying that he couldn't
do it," Mourinho said.
"It is some problem with this
calf. It's a muscular problem
and, even when they are not
serious, you cannot normally
play for a couple of weeks,
minimum. But I have no idea
the dimension of his injury."

Parisians fall short again
While Chelsea booked their
place in a seventh semi-final in
11 campaigns, PSG failed to
make it past the last-eight
juncture for the second season
in a row.
"There were a number of things
that didn't work and some
things did," manager Laurent
Blanc said. "We started the
game better than we did in the
first leg in Paris and managed
the first 25 minutes before
conceding when we least
expected it and that gave
Chelsea belief.
"In the second half Chelsea
were better and we lacked
fluidity, but I think we might
have scored on the counter.
Ultimately, Chelsea believed right
to the end and were rewarded
and good luck to them."

Reference: FIFA

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