Hints of frustration and hints of optimism could be heard in the voice of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho following his side’s 1-1 draw with Schalke FC in Wednesday night Champions League action.
After taking an early lead through Cesc Fabregas, the Blues were unable to close out the match and ultimately paid the price as Klaas Jan-Huntelaar equalized for the visitors. It was a match that Mourinho summed up in two words, “that’s football”.
“It was frustrating because of the early goal but also because we had chances to make it 2-0 and we didn’t,” Mourinho told the club’s official website. “After it was 1-1 we had a fantastic reaction and chances to win the game, but that’s football, that’s the Champions League. Schalke came to get a point; when they found themselves at 1-1 they fought hard to keep the result. They had a good keeper and players making fantastic defensive clearances off the line.”
Some may find Mourinho’s accusation that Schalke “came to get a point” to be a dubious one as the German side rarely seemed shy about going forward. After going down one-nil early on, they poured forward managing ten shots in the first half. And, even when the 62nd minute leveler came, Schalke continue to romp forward in search of the lead through the impressive play of Julian Draxler and Sidney Sam. Granted, the Germans relied mostly on the counter-attack but they hardly parked the bus and at the end of the match Chelsea were the slight leaders in possession 52/48 and shots 18/13.
When asked if Chelsea sat back too much with the lead in hand, Mourinho was realistically defiant, noting: “We always try to play our game and we always try to score goals, even when we are winning 1-0. We had Fabregas’ chance in the first half from Ivanovic’s cross, in the second half we had Dider in front of the keeper. We kept trying to score and win. After that, they scored on the counter attack. I don’t know if it was a foul or not [on Fabregas in the build-up to their goal].”
Certainly, the Blues had more than enough chances to win the match and if anyone looked likely to find the winner, it was Eden Hazard, who had a handful of chances to win the match. “I’m happy with what [Hazard] did,” Mourinho said. “If he scored that chance we would be talking about a 2-0 win, not a 1-1 draw, and him scoring at the end of a fantastic move.”
At the end, though, it was Mourinho taking his frustrations out on that two-word phrase manager’s love so much to repeat – ‘that’s football’. “In my opinion we made two mistakes; one was to not make a foul when they recovered the ball. The other was the fact I told my players 20 times [Julian] Draxler likes to come inside on his right foot and [Sidney] Sam wanted to come inside on his left foot, we had to close inside. After that situation, only one team tried to win; in the last 15 minutes Remy could have scored, Terry could have scored, Hazard could have scored, but that’s football. It’s not a fantastic point for us but it’s a point.”