Respect? Jose Mourinho's moan is that he does not get enough of it. Champions, runaway Premiership leaders, but there is always someone not paying due deference and yesterday it was Everton.
Handicapped by injury to the extent that Phil Neville had to play at centre-back, Everton refused to act as cheerleaders on the Special One's garlanded path to the FA Cup final and proved such an imposing barrier they squeezed a replay out of Chelsea. They are in tomorrow's fifth-round draw and, given the swaggering confidence of Mourinho's team in the League, that is a genuine Cup shock.
And it would have rocketed on to the Richter scale but for Frank Lampard. He got an equaliser with 17 minutes to go - just when it appeared that Everton would withstand the relentless Chelsea onslaught and cling on to James McFadden's opening goal.
"It was a game where you hoped you could have extra time," Mourinho said, "because we were so dominant. We should have scored again but the way Everton played, the way they worked, it was a result we had to accept." The 8 February replay? "No problem," he said. "I'm happy to do it, and if we beat them to go into the last 16 I'll be very happy."
That was the public face: you suspect the Chelsea manager will be less content in private, considering the state of yesterday's opponents. James Beattie and Matteo Ferrari were injured, Alan Stubbs was Cup-tied, Tim Cahill suspended and Joseph Yobo in Africa, so that Everton looked as threadbare as an old carpet. The contrast with Chelsea, who promoted Damien Duff to the substitutes' bench when Eidur Gudjohnsen became ill just before the kick-off, could not have been starker.
The result looked a formality and the opening exchanges did little to alter that view. The home part of Goodison was hushed, Chelsea pushed the ball around like it was a practice match, and the only question of importance appeared to be the number of goals the visitors would score. Then, all the preconceptions were shattered after 36 minutes. Chelsea were forewarned when Kevin Kilbane sneaked in front of his marker to get in a header but in the next attack the same thing happened, this time resulting in a goal. Glen Johnson failed to close down Kilbane on the left flank and, as the visitors braced themselves to deal with Duncan Ferguson, McFadden sneaked in behind the giant striker to beat Asier del Horno to the ball.
Chelsea's biggest failing in the first half was an inability to attack the flanks and Mourinho tried to remedy this at the interval by a change of tactics, moving Joe Cole from an ill-defined role in midfield to the right wing in a 4-3-3 formation.
The effect was to give the visitors space and they prospered almost immediately when Arjen Robben cut in from the left after 49 minutes and fired a low shot that tested Nigel Martyn's reflexes at the near post. A minute later, Lampard crossed and Joe Cole's header was thwarted by another good save by the Everton keeper.
It was an improvement but it was not enough for Mourinho, who altered things again on the hour, introducing Carlton Cole and Duff for Maniche and Del Horno.
Again, there should have been a goal. Robben crossed, Carlton Cole headed down and Hernan Crespo, from a range of eight yards, inexplicably put his shot two feet over the crossbar.
The tide was overwhelming. After 69 minutes Crespo was closer with a clever shot that shaved the outside of a post, two minutes later John Terry headed just over and Robben forced an exhilarating save out of Martyn who dived to his left to tip a shot wide. Could Everton survive? The answer came within 60 seconds.
"Chelsea are a second-half side," the Everton manager, David Moyes, said. "But for a long period it looked as if we could hang on." The reason they did not was Lampard.
The England midfielder did not have one of his better games but his goal threat is an ever-present menace and his run and finish for Chelsea's equaliser was exemplary. William Gallas ran at Everton's right flank before passing inside and Lampard's first touch, on the run, was immaculate and his second, a low left-foot shot, was deadly.
Robben by this stage was the outstanding figure on the pitch and he almost got the winner in the closing minutes, firing a low drive that Martyn, again, blocked at his near post. But on a second Saturday of Everton heroes, it was fitting that the home side should have the last word, Ferguson pulling just wide from the edge of the area in stoppage time.
Chelsea will be confident they will finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but Everton will travel with hope.Reuse content