independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Chelsea failings exhaust Mourinho

Jose Mourinho was frustrated watching his side

Jose Mourinho feels exhausted watching his Chelsea side struggle to finish off opponents, but for once was left lauding the heroics of Swansea's goalkeeper, rather than his forwards' failings in front of goal.

Eden Hazard's first-half goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 win over Swansea in a match which saw goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel deny Samuel Eto'o either side of half-time as the Blues exhibited familiar failings in front of goal.

Mourinho also felt Chelsea should have had a penalty when Hazard was tackled by Jordi Amat in the box, but there were few on-field protests over the second-half incident.

The Portuguese said: "They kill me. Every game I'm tired in the end.

"At half-time we all should be relaxed with a comfortable result and we weren't and the first thing that happens in the second half was probably the biggest chance of the game.

"After that we had a clear penalty, after that the goalkeeper made another fantastic save from (Frank) Lampard's shot, because the ball was going in the corner and had a deflection.

"But the time goes on, we don't score the second goal and you feel like the opponent now believes and the opponent is keen to risk a bit more and put in a second striker. In this moment you are a bit in trouble.

"You don't score, you finish feeling you are going to concede. But the boys, they worked hard defensively and in the last part they looked comfortable in their control of the game.

"Deserved victory, important victory, and today I can say that the biggest responsible for the lack of goals was their goalkeeper, because he made three or four big saves."

Chelsea's best chance fell to Eto'o in the opening seconds of the second half, following David Luiz's long pass and Juan Mata's control and cross, but Tremmel saved from point-blank range.

Instead of again bemoaning another failure by Chelsea's strikers, Mourinho praised the Swansea stopper.

He added: "We didn't miss, the goalkeeper made fantastic saves.

"The first half save from Eto'o's shot was brilliant. The first save in the first minute of the second half is the same.

"David's pass just in front of me was good, Mata control and pass was fantastic, Eto'o attacks the ball perfectly.

"My striker made the right movement to attack the ball, he did well, the goalkeeper made a fantastic save."

Hazard impressed and was arguably the only one of Chelsea's four starting attacking players to emerge with credit.

"The kid gave everything," Mourinho said.

The Belgium forward missed Chelsea's home match with Schalke after being absent from training in November.

"He never missed a training session after that," Mourinho added.

Hazard was granted a few minutes' additional rest when he was substituted in the second half and should be fine for Sunday's match with Liverpool.

Chelsea's title credentials will face a stern test and they will be without one of their most consistent performers after Ramires was booked for halting a counter-attack in the second half, picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

"It's the kind of yellow card I don't complain to the players because he did it for the team," Mourinho added.

"I don't want to cry, I just want to think about the solutions we have and prepare the team without him. That's life.

"If I don't play him today to protect him for Liverpool, I wouldn't forgive myself if I lose today points.

"He doesn't play against Liverpool, it means that against Southampton (on January 1) he's fresh."

Swansea play their second game in 48 hours on Saturday at Aston Villa with manager Michael Laudrup buoyed by the fact his side remained in contention until the end.

Laudrup said: "It's never good to lose a game, but once again to be in there until the last second I'm satisfied with that. Overall it's okay.

"Now that positive thing we have to bring on to the next, which now is a very important one for us, as it is for Aston Villa."

Chelsea had numerous opportunities, while Swansea had one good chance to equalise through Alvaro Vazquez, but Petr Cech saved.

"In terms of chances, I think it's more or less what I expected," Laudrup added.

"You know they will have two or three quite big chances, maybe some half chances; that we would get three, four half chances.

"The one in the first half from Alvaro was quite a big chance. You have to score.

"If you don't score that, it's difficult. You will not create eight chances against Chelsea away."

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