Jose Mourinho was full of praise for his team after watching them produce a quality performance to overcome Porto and progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League as winners of Group G.
The Blues were much the better side on the night and took the lead early on when Ivan Marcano put through his own net after Diego Costa’s effort was saved by Iker Casillas.
We extended our advantage shortly after half-time courtesy of Willian’s seventh goal of the campaign, a fine finish following impressive build-up play between Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, and can now look forward to Monday’s draw for the last 16 – which takes place at 11am UK time - where the fact we finished as group winners ensures we will play the second leg at home.
‘The thing that I’m most happy with, apart from the result, is the fact we needed a point to qualify and the players accepted the challenge of playing to win,’ said Mourinho. ‘That’s not easy when the moment is bad, results are negative and pressure is high. They were brave to accept that challenge. Apart from that I felt the first goal was fundamental. When we scored they were in a difficult position because they needed to win, a point wasn’t enough for them. We knew we could conceded a goal and still qualify.
‘What gives me confidence is the fact that we have been playing okay for the last couple of months, the results haven’t been as good as the work we do every day and the way the players are playing. We could have had different results against Stoke, Tottenham, Bournemouth.
‘The piece of luck we had with the first goal tonight we’ve never had in the Premier League. It was a great decision by the official on the goal-line and we never get that in the Premier League, despite the fact it’s goal-line technology.
‘When the game started both teams were under pressure, when we scored the first goal the picture was different. We were more calm, more relaxed, the players could be in control of the game and the situation for Porto was more difficult.’
Mourinho believes Diego Costa is struggling for confidence but felt he performed well overall
‘It’s clear but what is also clear is his effort, commitment and great movement, which is something he hasn’t had in the last couple of months. Tonight it was great. The first goal was obviously an own goal but his movement was great when the pass arrived. Last season he would have scored immediately but this season he couldn’t.
‘With the second chance when he faced the keeper on his own, you could immediately feel the lack of confidence because the first thing he did was not attack the goal but look to the linesman. When he did that he lost an important second and his last touch on the ball was not the best.
‘He could have scored two or three goals today. There is a lack of confidence, clearly, but his attitude was very good and his movement was much better, so goals are coming. I took him off not because I was unhappy with his performance but to give something different to the team, to attack the spaces with faster people.’
The Blues boss believes we can still finish in the Premier League top four
‘The Premier League boss said in an interview it would be good for the league if Chelsea were not champions, but he didn’t say it’s not good for the Premier League if Chelsea finish fourth, so while mathematically it’s still possible let’s fight for every game and every point and see if it’s possible to finish fourth.
‘A team which is struggling as we are is obviously not a candidate to win the Champions League because you have the best teams in Europe, but when we won it with Porto in 2004 we were not candidates. When we won it with Inter in 2010 we were not candidates. When we were candidates with Real Madrid we lost two semi-finals, and we lost two semi-finals with Chelsea as well, so let’s see, you never know.’