REACTION: MOURINHO DELIGHTED WITH ENERGETIC ESSIEN
Chelsea's comfortable victory over Manchester City left Jose Mourinho in no doubt about his team's performance.
"I am very happy," he declared. "We didn't just play well ? we played very well for 80 minutes but had 10 minutes in the beginning of the second half when the quality of our game went a little bit down."
Other than that minor blip, the Blues manager was very complimentary about his depleted team's showing.
"Defensively we were perfect. The intensity of our pressing was very high and the quality of our passing game was very good. We scored three goals and could have scored four or five. We dominated and beat a good team," Mourinho continued, and then lavished particular praise on midfielder Michael Essien.
"With two players in midfield, he had a big area to cover. But he has so much energy, I have to control his game from outside because if I don't control his position on the pitch, he will disappear from the places where I want him to be.
"His energy was amazing and he played well defensively," Mourinho added. "He had a shot for a great save, he had an assist for Lampard's shot. He played really well."
Mourinho then surprised all by revealing that there had been a doubt over whether the scorer of our first goal, captain John Terry, would even play today.
"He was injured in training yesterday and I was the only one who was not worried because I know he is such a competitive animal he wouldn't miss the start of the season."
Of more concern to Mourinho is whether his injury-ridden squad will withstand the pressures of three games in a week, the next two games at Middlesbrough and Blackburn being fixtures we lost last season.
"My doubt is whether we have enough players in condition to play three matches in a week."
Of the injured players, Mourinho had a hope for a possible midweek return for Makelele and Ballack, but Joe Cole, Geremi and Robert Huth have no chance. In addition, Chelsea are hoping that international clearance for new signing Khalid Boulahrouz will be through by Tuesday or Wednesday. William Gallas will train tomorrow.
Of new defender Boulahrouz, Mourinho explained that he is a valuable addition to squad as he can play in several positions.
"In a short squad and in a country where you can have only 16 players for a match, it's important to have cover for many positions. So, for example, now I can have Boulahrouz, Ricardo and John ? three options for the centre; I can have Paulo and Boulahrouz ? two options for the right side; I can have Boulahrouz and Wayne Bridge ? two options for the left side."
by Gill Lester