WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 CHELSEA 3
CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho exonerated John Terry after the captain’s red card left his side clinging on for a first Premier League win of the season yesterday at West Brom.
Goals from £21m debutant Pedro, striker Diego Costa and left-back Cesar Azpilicueta proved enough for the champions, despite James Morrison’s brace for the Baggies.
Terry’s dismissal, a week on from his half-time substitution at Manchester City, ensured an uncomfortable last 35 minutes but Mourinho insisted he did not blame the veteran defender.
“No – it’s a ball into the space behind the full-back, the full-back is pressing high, the striker makes the movement and then [referee] Mr Clattenburg decides it’s a red card,” he said.
Mourinho said Chelsea would practice playing 10 v 11 following a second red card in three games and played down the prospect of appealing Terry’s expulsion. “Normally it’s a waste of time for us,” he added.
He also praised Pedro after the Spain winger scored within 20 minutes of his first match since joining from Barcelona last week. “He’s a very good player,” said Mourinho. “There is always a question mark because how many top players come to England and don’t perform immediately?”
Chelsea would have been behind before Pedro’s opener had goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois not saved Morrison’s early penalty, and they took full advantage of the hosts’ miss when Costa quickly added a second.
Midfielder Morrison made amends for his miss by firing through a crowd on 35 minutes but West Brom’s hope was quickly dampened by Azpilicueta’s low strike just before half-time.
Terry’s departure, after he hauled down new £12m Baggies striker Salomon Rondon, revived the contest, which Morrison stoked further with a flicked header that looped into the far corner. Winger Callum McManaman dragged a low shot wide and team-mate Chris Brunt lashed over as West Brom pressed for an equaliser without reward.
Baggies manager Tony Pulis railed at speculation over England Under-21 Saido Berahino, who has been linked to Tottenham, while Pedro’s arrival at Chelsea could see Juan Cuadrado join Juventus on loan.