Mourinho dismisses Chelsea critics, as Hazard offers threat
Blues' coach dismisses 'philosophers' who don't like his approach ahead of Atletico Madrid showdown
CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho has dismissed critics of his side's defensive style of play ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid after making up with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who joined the chorus of disapproval after the Blues win at Anfield on Sunday.
Employing his weapon of choice this season, sarcasm, the Portuguese shot down those who disagree with his methods. "Football is full of philosophers, people who understand much more than me. Amazing. But the reality is the reality. A team that doesn't defend well doesn't have many chances to win."
Chelsea have been accused of negativity in recent weeks and after the game at Anfield, Rodgers said that the visitors had "parked two buses" in front of their goal.
However, Mourinho said the two had spoken since the match and patched up their differences. "Pundits are pundits, but Brendan is a manager and is somebody I consider my friend," said the Chelsea boss, who claimed Rodgers had congratulated him on the win. "I prefer to forget the words after the match and I keep today's words," he added.
Chelsea's recent statistics do appear to bear out the claims of negativity. In the first leg of the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid Chelsea had just 31 per cent of the possession, and the figure was even lower, just 27 per cent, against Liverpool at the weekend. They produced just six shots on target in those two games, says the BBC.
They will need to be more adventurous at Stamford Bridge against Atletico tonight if they want to make it to the final. But Alan Smith in the Daily Telegraph says Eden Hazard could make the difference. His presence in the team "changes things significantly" he claims.
"Do not believe for one second that Chelsea will come over all adventurous because they are playing at Stamford Bridge. An accent on denying the visitors time and space will continue to dominate Mourinho's game plan," explains Smith. "That said, Hazard’s scintillating pace with and without the ball gives Chelsea more options when they decide to commit."