Chelsea defeat to Basel adds spice to busy December schedule for the Blues

Petr Cech’s performance in goal was the one bright aspect of the second defeat

Petr Cech has admitted Chelsea have made their lives more complicated by succumbing to Basel for a second time in Champions League Group E.

Chelsea’s manager, Jose Mourinho, had targeted a win in Switzerland to render the result in next month’s final group match with Steaua Bucharest meaningless, but now his side must win to be certain of top spot in the standings.

Cech’s performance in goal was the one bright aspect of a second defeat to Basel as Chelsea, who failed to muster a meaningful effort on goal, stumbled to qualification for the last 16 only as a result of Schalke’s draw in Romania.

“We could’ve made it clear,” Cech said. “We’ve made it a bit more complicated for ourselves. We qualified, that’s the main thing. One more game, we want to make sure we win the game and be top. We didn’t play the way we wanted, we didn’t get the result we wanted – but at the same time we got the result we wanted.

“We wanted to come home from Basel with the qualification in our pocket; we are going home with the qualification, but we want to finish first.”

Chelsea play nine games next month, beginning with Sunday’s visit of Southampton in the Premier League, and Mourinho had hoped just eight of them would be fully competitive. Instead, the Steaua match is important despite Chelsea achieving something they failed to do last term, when they became the first Champions League  holders to exit in the group phase.

When Basel won at Stamford Bridge in September – ending Chelsea’s near 10-year, 29-match unbeaten run at home in the Champions League group stages – it appeared Mourinho’s side might suffer the same fate they did last season.

But they responded by winning 4-0 at Steaua and twice beating Schalke 3-0, leaving many to believe a win at St Jakob Park would be a formality.

Mourinho said: “In the first match we didn’t play well. I don’t think we deserved to lose, but we did. [In Basel] they found us in a moment of some relaxation.

“We were not under pressure like we were when  we played in Bucharest or against Schalke. At the same time I think we paid the price.”

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