SHREWSBURY TOWN 1 CHELSEA 2
CHELSEA boss Jose Mourino believes the club’s youngsters have the perfect role models from which to learn after the Blues reached the Capital One Cup quarter-final by edging past League Two high-flyers Shrewsbury Town at the New Meadow last night.
An own goal from Shrewsbury defender Jermaine Grandison inside the final 10 minutes proved decisive after substitute Andrew Mangan made an immediate impact moments earlier by cancelling out skipper Didier Drogba’s 48th minute opener.
Mourinho – who intimated Diego Costa will be fit for the weekend clash with QPR – handed a first-team debut to 18-year-old Danish defender Andreas Christensen while Holland Under-21 international Nathan Ake was entrusted with a central midfield berth, although the Portuguese reserved particular praise for those on show during the gruelling Premier League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
“My four players that played on Sunday were an unbelievable example for the others,” he said. “I think Didier [Drogba], Filipe [Luis], Oscar and [Gary] Cahill were brilliant, absolutely brilliant, mentality amazing.
“We had people like that and then Petr Cech and [John Obi] Mikel who have not played regularly in the first team but came here and gave also a great example of professionalism.
After that, the kids [Andreas] Chistensen and [Nathan] Ake have to learn from them and they will.”
The hosts were the first to threaten in the fifth minute when Chelsea’s recalled keeper Cech proved his agility has not diminished with a lack of game time as he clawed away a towering header from Shrews defender Nat Knight-Percival.
The two clubs may be separated by 72 league places but Shrewsbury, buoyed by victories over Premier League side Leicester and Championship duo Blackpool and Norwich already in this season’s competition, were far from overawed.
Chelsea enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening half without troubling Shrewsbury’s Swiss stopper Jayson Leutwiler, with a trio of wayward Mohamed Salah attempts flying well wide of the target.
The visitors increased their intensity at the start of the second half and within minutes of the restart Drogba took his tally to three goals in as many games by volleying past Leutwiler left-footed after neat link up play by Salah.
Shrewsbury continued to show a lack of stage fright and 10 minutes after the restart former Tranmere striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s effort was deflected narrowly wide of the post by team-mate Collins.
Manager Micky Mellon threw on Mangan and within seconds the ex-Accrington Stanley forward stabbed home from within the six-yard box following Grandison’s knock down.
Grandison’s impact on proceedings was far from over and with nine minutes remaining the centre-half headed into his own net from Willian’s cross.