Cardiff 1 Chelsea 2 match report: No one happy as Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ponder relative failings
Bellamy had opened the scoring for Cardiff but two goals in four minutes from Schurrle and Torres see Chelsea sign off with win
Cardiff City Stadium
Sunday 11 May 2014
For both clubs this brought unsatisfactory seasons to an unsatisfying end.
A fortnight ago, Chelsea had Premier League and Champions League glory within their sights and, despite Andre Schürrle and Fernando Torres turning this game around with two goals in three second-half minutes, the lack of silverware will sting Jose Mourinho and company. Not that the Portuguese expects it to put his position under scrutiny from owner Roman Abramovich.
Mourinho said: “Maybe that happens tomorrow, I don’t know. That is not what I was promised, that is not what we spoke about when we sat and when we discussed the period that Chelsea was living.
“Chelsea started an era with Mr Abramovich in 2003, the team went in a certain direction. That period is over and now we have to start again. This season I can say was the first season of a new period. It means nothing finishing third rather than second or fourth. It does not hurt – it is part of the process.”
But Mourinho, who insisted he would be happy for Ashley Cole and Torres to be part of his squad next season, offered his congratulations to rivals Manchester City.
“I believe they deserve it,” he said. “They are champions, they have four more points than Chelsea, two more points than Liverpool, and they were not guilty of games like Chelsea v Sunderland and Chelsea v Aston Villa. So I think they are champions and deserve it.”
Compared to Cardiff’s campaign, Chelsea’s has been a cakewalk. A season which promised so much ends with the Bluebirds bottom of the Premier League,
Not even the wake could be negotiated with dignity as owner Vincent Tan used the day to once again slate former manager Malky Mackay, while also attempting to placate some supporters with the offer of a compromise on playing colours should they reach this level again.
One man unlikely to be around, should that materialise, is Craig Bellamy. The 34-year-old striker’s early deflected effort had put Cardiff on course for all three points on what could yet prove to be his final appearance as he ponders retirement.
Torres and Mohamed Salah squandered good chances for Chelsea before Bellamy had his moment, although it required a major slice of luck as his left-footed shot took a huge deflection off César Azpilicueta’s backside.
The game was soon back down the Cardiff end, with Oscar missing a sitter when Branislav Ivanovic’s long ball caught Declan John playing the Brazilian onside.
Chelsea piled on the pressure but had to wait until there were just 18 minutes left before equalising. David Marshall did well to keep out a header by Azpilicueta and the full-back hit the bar with the rebound, leaving Schürrle to complete the job.
Three minutes later the visitors had the lead. Azpilicueta’s deep cross was headed back across the area for Torres to control and fire low into the net, condemning Cardiff to a 22nd defeat of the season.
The Cardiff manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “We have lacked the quality to turn tight games round. We have lacked quality in that respect. We have lacked the knowledge and patience to grind teams down; we have been wide open. That is on the agenda for next season.”
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