Jose Mourinho was in a pragmatic mood as his Chelsea side crashed out of the UEFA Champions League, insisting his side are still on course for a successful season.
On a stormy night at Stamford Bridge the Blues looked set to be heading into the quarter-finals when Gary Cahill broke the resistance of Paris St Germain late on, but the visitors, who were reduced to ten men when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was controversially sent off during the first half, forced the match into extra-time when David Luiz – who else? – scored a last-gasp leveller.
Eden Hazard then put the hosts back in front from the penalty spot when Thiago Silva handled, yet the Brazilian defender atoned for this error when he superbly headed past Thibaut Courtois to send Laurent Blanc’s side through on away goals. This was one of the biggest shocks we are likely to see in the Round of 16, as Chelsea were amongst the favourites to win the competition.
After the match Mourinho admitted the Ligue 1 champions deserved to be in the last eight, after accepting his players wilted under the pressure. But as disappointed as the Portuguese coach was, he was quick to remind everyone that his side lead the Premier League table with 11 games to complete, whilst they have already placed the League Cup in their cabinet this term.
“It’s not time to cry or time to laugh, it’s time to analyse the situation – if we win the Premier League and the Capital One Cup, it’s still a fantastic season,” he said. “I’m disappointed but I try to be pragmatic. When the opponent is better than us, the first step is to be honest and say we didn’t deserve to go through. We need to react – we have a Premier League to win and I’ve told that to the players.”
Chelsea’s lead at the top of the league table could be cut to two points if reigning champions Manchester City win at Burnley on Saturday evening, but the capital club will then have two games in hand. The first of these takes place on Sunday afternoon when Southampton visit Stamford Bridge, after which they have 10 matches to secure a first league title since 2010.