Chelsea vs West Brom: Jose Mourinho 'sorry' for criticism of the crowd... but knows it paid off

Stamford Bridge faithful much louder than when they last played

Simon Peach
Saturday 22 November 2014 19:42

Jose Mourinho may be sorry for criticising the Stamford Bridge atmosphere but it appeared to have the desired response, with the Chelsea manager amazed by the difference against West Brom.

At the start of November, the Portuguese risked the ire of his own supporters by saying it felt like the Blues were playing at an "empty stadium" when near neighbours QPR visited.

It was an assessment subsequently backed by many a Chelsea fan and seemingly acted as a catalyst to a much-improved atmosphere for West Brom's visit on Saturday.

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard struck in the first half to secure a victory far more dominant than the 2-0 scoreline suggests, with Mourinho full of praise for the Stamford Bridge faithful afterwards.

"It improved a lot, a lot," the Chelsea boss said. "You know the answer - there is no comparison.

"I don't want to speak again about it, for good and for bad, because they pay me to coach.

"They pay me to win matches, they don't pay me to be critical of the crowd, so I feel sorry for my comments a couple of weeks ago.

"But the reality is there today, the difference was amazing."

There was also a marked difference when it came to the hosts' display before and after half-time.

Mourinho used a host of superlatives to describe Chelsea's first-half performance, but they noticeably tailed off after the break despite West Brom being reduced to 10 men.

The Blues manager wanted more goals from his side but understood his side's intensity dropping, despite looking increasingly irritated on the touchline.

"Yeah, but I am always annoyed," he said with a smile. "I am always annoyed and the players know that.

"But sometimes I have to realise that there are reasons for things, like national team matches, people having to play two matches in a row, coming back, travel. We didn't train properly.

"The players know that they have a marathon of matches, they know they play in Germany on Tuesday, so the intensity went down.

"They knew that the points were not at risk. The objective was to win the three points and I think they also knew that because we spoke about at it at half-time that the first half was absolutely beautiful.

"Many, many times I am upset, but I think not today."

As well as his own players, Mourinho was quick to praise West Brom for the manner in which they limited further damage after the break - comments Albion boss Alan Irvine agreed with.

"It could have [been a thrashing], there's no doubt about that because this was a hard enough place to come with 11 players," he said.

"Jose said immediately after the game that it was a magnificent performance by 10 players and I have to agree with him in terms of the defensive side.

"Obviously from an attacking point of view we would have wanted a lot more, but it was a tough task already made even tougher."

Irvine had no complaints about Claudio Yacob's first-half dismissal, saying the decision was "understandable" - but was angered by Costa's opening goal.

"I thought it was offside," he said. "The lad was offside, so our defenders did what they were supposed to do.

"When it shifts back onto the right foot of the crosser, they step up and as they do that he is offside.

"It was a great finish, a great chest and finish, but I am not going to blame our players for something that was an incorrect decision."


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