The first 90 minutes of match action may not have produced a positive result but for Jose Mourinho the experience was exactly what his team needed.
It finished 4-2 to our hosts New York Red Bulls last night, with a Chelsea goal in each half, Loic Remy and Eden Hazard the scorers. All of the Red Bulls’ strikes came after the interval.
There were some aspects of our play Mourinho acknowledged need improvement but he still left New York satisfied his team had taken a first step towards reaching the intensity levels required for when competitive action begins in 10 days’ time.
‘They gave us a good training session,’ said Mourinho. ‘If we came here and won 10-0 I would not be happy because it would mean it was too easy. We needed the game they gave us.
‘Obviously we needed to play better than we did in the second half defensively, and there were also too many missed chances, but the intention of pre-season matches is to play, to run, to bring intensity back, so no problem. We are a top team, we have top players. We only started training six days ago.
‘The kids that played for Red Bulls were very good opponents for us: sharp, quick, fast, and highly motivated. I believe they were so happy to play against Chelsea.
‘They gave us a good match, maybe better than they should, but a very good match! They are not going to forget they beat Chelsea, even if it was pre-season.’
Mourinho gave 45 minutes of action to a number of players including Victor Moses and Bertrand Traore, two wingers who spent last season out on loan. He discussed their current situations, starting with the Burkinabe Traore.
‘He’s 19, he’s a kid. He was in Africa, then Vitesse, and now he’s at Chelsea. He’s not going on loan. We want to keep him and improve him. With the ball he has a lot of talent. Sometimes he didn’t always make the best decisions, but this is absolutely normal. He’s a good kid, a good talent, and I repeat he’s not going on loan.
‘Victor is strong, he’s experienced and he knows the Premier League well,’ pointed out the manager turning his thoughts to the winger who impressed at Stoke last term.
‘He’s fast and aggressive. Okay, he has to learn how to play with us but I’m happy with his week and his 45 minutes. Let’s see what happens but Victor had an evolution in the last couple of years.’
A man playing his first game in a Chelsea shirt was Asmir Begovic. Mourinho was asked to assess his performance before the team returned to Montreal, their base for this pre-season tour of North America.
‘He was very tired, the same as Courtois. When the goalkeepers are very tired the coordination is low, the agility doesn’t exist, and the speed of reaction doesn’t exist. Courtois made a mistake in the first half with the ball at his feet.
‘Begovic in the second half was not sharp in his reactions but it’s a consequence of being tired from training. I’m so happy to have him and in the next game against PSG he will start. He will play the first half. There’s no problem, it’s just a process.’