Final whistle verdict: Calm and composed
News Mon 30 Dec 2014
It was the manner in which his side responded to going behind that most pleased Jose Mourinho tonight.
A wonderful volley from Burnley’s Scott Arfield gave our hosts an early advantage but within minutes we were level courtesy of Diego Costa’s first for the club.
Our second goal, assisted by Cesc Fabregas and scored by Andre Schurrle, was a work of art and an early contender for goal of the season. The third, volleyed in by Branislav Ivanovic, was a more routine affair but well taken nonetheless.
Those three goals arrived in the space of 17 first-half minutes and while we did not add to our tally after the break it was still as good an opening-day performance as you could wish to see, particularly in light of the fact so many of our players’ return to training has been staggered because of the World Cup.
That was just one aspect of tonight’s victory that pleased the manager, who also spoke on his team’s response to going a goal down against top-flight newcomers…
‘We had a good reaction,’ Mourinho said. ‘The first part of that reaction was that we were not emotionally affected by the goal we conceded. We kept playing according to the way we are training and the way we want to play. The players were very calm and never lost their composure. They never lost the football idea.
‘After that we had a fantastic 20 minutes with three goals. The second goal especially was a fantastic goal. Plus there was the penalty that the linesman decided not to give.
‘In the second half we had control of the game. I was a bit afraid because I know my players are not in the top physical form ready to give the same kind of performance for 90 minutes, so we lost a little bit of attacking appetite, but the control of the game and of possession was always there. I think we clearly deserved these three points against a side that is going to give a fight to everyone that comes here.’
Mourinho gave a fuller assessment of the penalty incident involving Diego Costa…
‘Costa last season had a fantastic season and I think in the Spanish league he got five or six yellow cards all season. We all explained to him what people like and don’t like in the Premier League, and what people want at Chelsea. He presented himself here today with a fantastic attitude, a competitive attitude, but clean and polite.
‘He had a clear penalty but he got no penalty and he got a yellow card. He was obviously frustrated so I hope he doesn’t get more unfair decisions. [Michael] Oliver had a very good game and unfortunately his linesman didn’t support him well in that situation.’
Fabregas, also on his full debut, had a crucial hand in all three goals, most impressively the second…
‘The team played very well but I agree with Cesc being man of the match. Him and Matic controlled the game and dictated the intensity of the game. They were choosing how to play – increase the pace, decrease the pace, play deeper, play with control.
‘I know clearly the player Cesc is because we have spent so many years together in the same league, both here and in Spain. I know exactly what he will bring to my team. He is giving exactly what we need: that stability, that quick-thinking in midfield, that right decision. He brings other people in the same direction – you could feel Matic was playing different from last season.
‘Everything was fantastic for the second goal: the movement, the quality of the pass, the vision, the understanding between them. It was beautiful.’
Thibaut Courtois was a third man making his first Chelsea start…
‘He’s not my first choice for the rest of the season. He was my first choice today and he played well enough to be my first choice for the next game.
‘I want to keep Petr and the club wants to keep him. Hopefully he stays. No player is happy when he’s not playing every game. I know Petr for 10 years and I know he will not relax. He will be the opposite. I’m expecting him to go to the training ground on Wednesday, be a top professional and fight to be back in goal.’
Burnley were playing their first game back in the Barclays Premier League…
‘It was difficult. They played to their strengths, very direct with two strikers close to each other. The wingers have lots of intensity. They are a very well-worked side so the coach has to be good.
‘They have to play against teams with a different dimension of players in the Premier League but I think with the potential they have they will give a difficult match to everyone that comes here.’
Our manager’s opposite number Sean Dyche, known to the locals as the ‘Ginger Mourinho’, admitted it was tough for his side.
‘They’re top of the market, or certainly up there,’ he said. ‘They’ve got so much quality in all areas and they can hurt you in any way. They’re powerful, they can play with great awareness and they’ve got good movement.
‘For the second goal you have to hold your hands up. There are some players of fantastic quality in the Premier League and Cesc Fabregas is certainly one of them.’