CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho revealed midfielder Nemanja Matic twisted his ankle celebrating their Capital One Cup win after eking out three points at West Ham last night.
Midfielder Eden Hazard’s goal kept the Blues five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand and left Mourinho in a good enough mood to laugh off the injury to Matic, which is not expected to keep the Serb out of next week’s clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
“Matic got an injury celebrating the cup. I'm not kidding,” he said. “It’s not a big injury but if he was not suspended, today he wouldn’t play. He twisted his ankle on the pitch. He put shin pads on but not tape.”
Mourinho admitted Sunday’s final had sapped his team and hailed the fighting qualities of “good warriors” Kurt Zouma and Diego Costa after a full-blooded and chance-strewn match.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce blamed striker Diafra Sakho’s misses and outstanding goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois for a seventh game without a win.
“We very rarely don’t score here,” said Allardyce, whose side slipped to 10th. “We did create an awful lot of chances but a little bit of poor finishing and great goalkeeping has kept the result from [being] at least a draw.”
Mourinho stuck with nine of the team that won the Capital One Cup just three days earlier and despite a sprightly start they were soon under pressure from win-shy West Ham.
Recalled keeper Courtois rushed out to block Cheikhou Kouyate’s close-range shot before Sakho wasted a clear chance by failing to control Carl Jenkinson’s cross.
Chelsea wasted no time in punishing the miss, an unmarked Hazard heading past Adrian from a Ramires right-wing centre seconds later, amid unheeded complaints of offside.
Only an exemplary last-ditch sliding tackle from Jenkinson stopped a dawdling Costa from doubling the lead when played through by Hazard 10 minutes before the break.
Perhaps sensing a let-off, the Hammers redoubled attempts to equalise only for Sakho to mislay his ruthless touch on four occasions either side of the break.
An end-to-end contest saw Ramires hit the post and then have a headers stopped by Adrian’s left leg, while Courtois and Gary Cahill denied Sakho certain goals.
There was still time for Sakho to miss again, this time from a free header, while Aaron Cresswell cleared off the line from Chelsea substitute Willian.