Jose Mourinho could not blame his players for their poor showing in Basel as they were ‘tired’ and admitted that he could have perhaps freshened things up with more changes.
FC Basel snatched victory in the 87th minute when Mohamed Salah fired home when Branislav Ivanovic fell asleep and let him go, but in truth the Blues were second best all evening and didn’t have a shot on target all evening.
Mourinho told Sky Sports:
“A bad performance, a deserved defeat – but because of other results we qualify mathematically and that is the only positive thing for this night that we qualify for last 16.
“Now we have to get a result at home to finish first, so that is the only positive thing.”
Mourinho said he could tell his side wasn’t up to pace from the of:
“I didn’t like it from the first minute, we started with a defensive mistake immediately, the first time we were in the game we made a defensive mistake – I think we only had a little bit of stability and control in second-half but I felt the team was tired.
“I think the team paid today the price for their international 15 days.
“The match against West Ham was crucial and everyone played a great intense game but I think today we paid a price, they were tired.
“There was no reaction, wrong decisions – so I am not so sad with them as I understand, the team was not fresh and maybe I should make more changes in the team.
“But when you get such a good performance against West Ham you have that temptation of playing the same team as they played so well, it is difficult to change them.
“I made one change with Eden (Hazard) as I thought he could make a difference coming form the bench but perhaps I should have changed more players.
“We should get a better result than this but I don’t blame the players, we have to rest and prepare for the game at the weekend because even with the defeat because of the nine points we are through, and that is the minimum we could do and now we have to fight for the first position.”
So it sounds as though Mourinho is taking full responsibility for the result and so he should as the XI that started the match clearly were not at the races. Ten of them were in the line-up for the West Ham game and performed so well, but FC Basel aren’t the Hammers and the Blues struggled with a side that had skill, guile, pace and did not allow our lads a moments peace with their pressing game.
It’s also quite worrying how reliant Chelsea’s attack is on Eden Hazard as it was virtually non-existent before he took to the field.
Both Frank Lampard and Oscar were the stars of the weekend but were terrible on Tuesday night. The Brazilian barely touched the ball and missed nearly 40% of his passes whilst Lampard struggled to keep up with the action.
There’s no real positives to pick out from this one aside from the fact we have qualified because Schalke failed to beat Steaua and will top the group should they win the final group game.