Chelsea players met challenge – Mourinho

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho praises his players for not being content with a draw as a win over Porto sees his side progress into the last-16 of the Champions League.

Chelsea players met challenge – Mourinho

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SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 9, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

1. CHELSEA MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE

2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHELSEA MANAGER, JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING:

“The thing that I am most happy with is, apart from the result, is the fact that we need one point to qualify and the players accept the challenge of playing to win. And that is not easy when the moment is so bad, when the results are so negative, when the pressure is so high. And they were brave to accept that, to accept that challenge.”

3. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHELSEA MANAGER, JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING:

“Apart from that, I think that the first goal is fundamental. When we score the first goal, then Porto is in a difficult position because they need to win and a point is not enough for them. We know that we can concede a goal and still qualify so I think that the first goal will always be fundamental.”

5. JOURNALISTS LISTENING

6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHELSEA MANAGER, JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING:

“The piece of luck we had today in our first goal – I think it is a great pass, it is great movement – but we were a bit lucky with the rebound because it is also a very good save from (Iker) Casillas. That little bit of luck we never had in the Premier League.”

STORY: Chelsea manager Jose paid tribute to his players for playing for a win against Porto on Wednesday (December 9) when a draw would have been enough to secure qualification for the knock-out phase of the Champions League.

Mourinho, who steered the English champions to a 2-0 win over his former club Porto 2-0 to finish top of qualifying Group G, said he was pleased his under-fire players were able to rise to the challenge during a tense evening at Stamford Bridge.

“The thing that I am most happy with is, apart from the result, is the fact that we need one point to qualify and the players accept the challenge of playing to win. And that is not easy when the moment is so bad, when the results are so negative, when the pressure is so high. And they were brave to accept that, to accept that challenge,” the Portuguese told reporters after the match.

After Chelsea had taken the lead through a lucky deflection off Porto defender Ivan Marcano, Mourinho’s men knew that they could afford to concede a goal and they would still qualify for the next round with a draw.

Mourinho said the breathing space this allowed his places was fundamental to the outcome of the game.

“I think that the first goal is fundamental. When we score the first goal, then Porto is in a difficult position because they need to win and a point is not enough for them. We know that we can concede a goal and still qualify so I think that the first goal will always be fundamental,” he said.

Despite retaining the loyal support of the Chelsea fans, who chanted his name throughout Wednesday’s game, Mourinho’s position at Stamford Bridge has come under intense pressure after his side lost eight of their first 15 English league games this season.

Mourinho bemoaned his side’s domestic form, saying Chelsea had enjoyed a bit more luck against Porto than in their English league games after the Londoners took the lead courtesy of the fortunate rebound off Marcano that went past Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

“The piece of luck we had today in our first goal – I think it is a great pass, it is great movement – but we were a bit lucky with the rebound because it is also a very good save from (Iker) Casillas. That little bit of luck we never had in the Premier League,” he said.

Tags : Mourinho, challenge, players, Chelsea

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