Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 3: Jose Mourinho proud of his players
Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 3: Jose Mourinho insists he was pleased with his players' efforts despite defeat in the second leg
Jose Mourinho insisted that he was proud of his players’ efforts, despite watching Atletico Madrid come from behind to beat Chelsea and reach the Champions League final.
“We had many problems but my players gave everything tonight,” said Mourinho. “I am happy with them. They lost against a very good team but that’s football.”
Fernando Torres had given the Blues the lead against his former club in the 36th minute at Stamford Bridge, but Adrian Lopez restored parity on the stroke of half-time when he turned home Juanfran’s cutback.
I think the difference was one minute in the second half
Chelsea went close to going in front again just after half-time when Blues loanee Thibaut Courtois saved John Terry’s powerful header.
But Atletico went ahead shortly after thanks to Diego Costa’s penalty after the Spain international was brought down by substitute Samuel Eto’o in the box.
Arda Turan then added gloss to the scoreline by netting the visitors’ third in the 72nd minute to fire Atletico into their first European Cup final since 1974.
“I think the difference was one minute in the second half,” said Mourinho. “In the first half, both teams were very equal in the way they approached the game. The 1-1 [scoreline] left everything completely open.
“These matches are normally decided by details and that minute had two details – the save was amazing, and the penalty was a penalty. I think that minute was crucial.
“We had immediately the feeling that the game was lost and after that they were really solid, really mature and a real team. I congratulate them.”
Mourinho is now facing the prospect of a trophyless season in his first campaign back at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s only hope of silverware relies on both Liverpool and Manchester City dropping points in their final Premier League games.
But the Portuguese coach was in philosophical mood after Wednesday’s defeat.
“We are realistic but at the same time we are optimistic,” he said. “When things go in a certain direction, there is a moment when you dream and you think that things are possible, even if they are not so realistic.
“Because we did well in Premier League and Champions League, there was a moment when we felt we could do it.
“In the Premier League, the match against Aston Villa made me believe that we had no chance to be champions. In the Champions League it is the same – we knew that [other] teams had more potential than us [to win it]. But because you go step by step, you build your dream.”
Mourinho ended with some words of praise for his Atletico counterpart, Diego Simeone, whose side will take on derby rivals Real Madrid in next month’s final.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that he needs to win the Champions League to be considered a top manager,” he added. “I think he’s a very good manager and he’s doing fantastic work in Atletico.”