Mourinho: Chelsea played for “result, pride,” to avoid Europa League

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It’s been anything but an enjoyable 2015-16 season for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, the reigning champions of the Premier League, but on Wednesday the Blues took care of business for what feels like the first time in forever to secure their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League.

[ FULL RECAP: Chelsea 2-0 Porto ]

After Mourinho’s side picked up a rare victory (just their fourth in their last 11 games – all competitions), the Portuguese manager, who’s still a Champions League-winning hero at Porto, spoke quite proudly of his team’s resolve to overcome adversity during a particularly tough time, while remaining humbled and apologetic to the club’s supporters over recent results.

[ MORE: Round of 16 field is set — who can play who in the KO stage? ]

Mourinho, speaking to BT Sport after Wednesday’s victory:

“The players were really committed to get a result, as much for their pride. They didn’t want to go to the Europa League and especially after the last defeat at home, a second successive defeat would have been an attack to their pride.

“They were compact and always had initiative, they tried to win even when the draw would have been enough. They deserved to win.

“We are not lucky in the Premier League. Luck is part of the game. In the Premier League every detail goes against us and it was a little attack to the players’ confidence. It was an important result for the players and the clubs. 

“The supporters are unbelievable in their support towards me and I feel sorry I cannot give them more than I am giving them.”