Water under bridge now

Diego Costa is fouled by Maccabi Tel Aviv's Tal Ben Haim in the box, resulting in a penalty which Oscar scored to put Chelsea up 2-0. Jose Mourinho reshuffled his starting XI after a recent run of poor results.
Diego Costa is fouled by Maccabi Tel Aviv's Tal Ben Haim in the box, resulting in a penalty which Oscar scored to put Chelsea up 2-0. Jose Mourinho reshuffled his starting XI after a recent run of poor results.PHOTO: REUTERS

Euro win snaps poor run and gives boost for Arsenal clash, Jose says he's still Special One

LONDON • Jose Mourinho pointed out to critics that he remains the Special One as Chelsea returned to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over the visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The Blues manager went into the Champions League Group G match under the spotlight following his side's worst start to an English top-flight season since 1986.

After goals from Willian, Oscar, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas gave Mourinho his first win since Aug 23, the Portuguese conceded that he had "forgotten the winning feeling". But he made sure his detractors would not forget his achievements any time soon.

"I'm a fantastic manager when I'm not winning matches and I'm a fantastic manager when I am," he said. "The pundits get big money not to say easy things.

A HEAD ABOVE THE REST

I'm a fantastic manager when I'm not winning matches and I'm a fantastic manager when I am.

JOSE MOURINHO

"They have to be geniuses in their analysis or they don't deserve the money they get."

The Stamford Bridge crowd still sung his name before kick-off and he was thankful for the support.

"I prefer that than they say 'Mourinho out' and they boo me and so on," he added.

"It shows they don't read papers or they don't have short memories... We won four Premier Leagues, three with him and one with his team. This guy is not bad.

"Let's support the guy. We have a chance to win the fifth."

The English champions currently lie 17th in the domestic league, with three losses from five games.

Mourinho axed six players, including John Terry, Costa and Branislav Ivanovic from the side who lost to Everton on the weekend.

The likes of Kurt Zouma, Loic Remy and Ruben Loftus-Cheek started against the Israeli champions.

"The team were more aggressive with and without the ball," said Mourinho, who praised his team's response to Eden Hazard's penalty miss at 0-0.

"Without the ball, you could see the pressing much stronger, the lines much more together, a very good reaction when we lost the ball to try and recover immediately and force the mistake in the opponent," he added.

He will hope it provides a foundation for success, starting with a sterner test against Arsenal in the Premier League tomorrow.

He will be without Pedro, absent on Wednesday, and Willian, who was forced off in the 23rd minute with a hamstring injury.

The duo have contributed four of the seven league goals Chelsea have scored. They will be sorely missed against a Gunners side who have kept three successive clean sheets in the league.

But Oscar - one of the keys to Chelsea's renewed positivity following his return from a knee injury - believes Wednesday's result marks a turning point.

The Brazilian, who had been absent since the opening day of the season, provided guile and sharpness of thought.

"Now we have won again, everyone is happy and are easy to prepare for the next game against Arsenal. This team won the Premier League last season and it is the same players now.

"We just need to take our confidence into games and win them."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'Water under bridge now'. Print Edition | Subscribe