Jose Mourinho tips Chelsea to thrive as Champions League dark horses

Joe Hall
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Willian scored Chelsea's second as the Blues put domestic struggles to one side (Source: Getty)


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists his side will relish their underdog status in the Champions League after they secured a place in the knock-out stages with victory over Porto last night.

An own goal from Ivan Marcano and a second-half strike from Willian earned the Blues – in the midst of a domestic crisis – top spot in Group G, prompting Mourinho to remind his troops of against-the-odds triumphs of his past.

“A team that is struggling like we are is not obviously a candidate to win the Champions League,” he said.

“But when we [Mourinho and his coaching staff] won in Porto in 2004 we were not a candidate; when we won in Inter in 2010 we were not a candidate.

“When we were a candidate we lost two semi-finals with Real Madrid, we lost two semi-finals with Chelsea. So let’s see.”

Mourinho added that his side would not neglect their Premier League salvage operation, even if lifting the European Cup appears almost as likely as making up a 14-point gap on the domestic top four.

“While mathematically it’s still possible, we will fight for every game and see if it’s possible to finish in the top four,” he added.

Chelsea’s breakthrough against Mourinho’s old club came on the 12-minute mark when striker Diego Costa squandered the first of many good chances.

Costa’s shot, after being set free by Eden Hazard’s through-ball, was straight at Iker Casillas whose save was diverted back past him and over the line by returning defender Marcano.

Costa botched his second opportunity a minute before half-time, shooting wide after narrowing the angle for himself by taking one too many touches from Oscar’s pass.

Chelsea doubled their lead seven minutes after the break with a swift passing move from left to right.

Hazard received from Costa near the left touchline before surging across the edge of the penalty area and feeding the onrushing Willian to blast low into the bottom right hand side of the goal.

With 20 minutes left, Costa once again ran free on goal but looked more concerned with drawing contact from defender Bruno Martins Indi and moments later scotched a near-identical opportunity with a heavy touch.

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