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“We frustrated Atlético; normally it’s Atleti who frustrate others”

Logotipo de AS AS 23/04/2014 Juan Casáñez

“We frustrated Atlético Madrid, when normally it’s Atlético who frustrate others,” was Chelsea manager José Mourinho’s assessment of Tuesday’s night’s 0-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg draw at the Vicente Calderón. He added: “I told our players not to keep the ball too much, because Atlético press well.”

Analysis of 0-0 scoreline: “I think the scoreline reflects the match. [Thibaut] Courtois didn’t have to make any big saves, nor did [Mark] Schwarzer. It was a game for men, a hard-fought, tactical, close game. Atlético had more control, but despite the problems we had, we came away with this result from what was the game of their lives. Now there’s another match to go and it’ll be decided at Stamford Bridge.”

Will Petr Cech and John Terry be back for the second leg? “The season is over for Cech and, as for Terry, we have to get to the final for him to be able to play.”

You’ve also lost Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel for the next game and the indications are that the tie will be settled by small details… “Of course. The result shows that everything will depend on the details. We’ve lost four players in total, but we will fight. [Branislav] Ivanovic will be back. [Ashley] Cole played an amazing match. Before the match, we were speaking about the game of our lives, now the game of our lives is at Stamford Bridge.”

The son of West Ham United’s owner has said that your team played 19th-century football. What’s your response to that? “I’m not going to comment on the opinion of the West Ham owner’s son.”

Chelsea won the final two years ago with a lot of players missing. Is that the example to follow? “I think that many years ago Chelsea started building a team with great characters and personalities. The club has that heritage, and young people can smell it. Yes, it would be a good example of how to do things.”

Atlético didn’t manage to create many chances. Why? “For the first time, Atlético had to try to win here. It was the first time that they had to play at home with that intention. Against Milan they won the first game at the San Siro, and against Barcelona they got the 1-1 draw away. They’re a very difficult team, they’re a very physical team and they’re fantastic on set-plays. For us to stop them the way we did, was really good.”

Is this the result you wanted for the second leg? “No one starts a match wanting it to finish 0-0, but a game goes in a certain direction and you feel you have to be safe and not concede. We had several corners and free-kicks, dangerous moments around their area, but we didn’t score one of them. After 15 minutes of the second half, we were too deep. Then we lost Terry and the team suffered from that mentally. We had to change a number of players’ positions and in the end the best thing was to maintain the result.”

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