Jose Mourinho: The best team won
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was unrepentant about his tactics at Liverpool as his team secured a 2-0 win over the Premier League leaders that blew open the title race.
A mistake by Steven Gerrard let Demba Ba in for the opener in added time at the end of the first half, and with seconds remaining substitute Willian added a second goal on the break.
The visitors successfully stifled Liverpool's attacking flair, with Mourinho's side employing every trick in the book to slow down play, but it more than paid off as the usually free-scoring Reds ran out of ideas. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was fuming at Mourinho's tactics.
“The best team won, in my opinion,'' said Mourinho. “Defensive display? I am a bit confused what the media thinks about defensive displays. When a team defends well you call it a defensive display. When a team defends badly and concedes two or three goals you don't consider it a defensive display.
“When Liverpool started to put balls in the air for Mark [Schwarzer], [Gary] Cahill and [Branislav] Ivanovic they were like in fish in water because it was so easy for them. The team played brilliantly. Every player was magnificent. No mistakes. I think it was a fantastic performance by my players.
“I am not looking for credit. I am very happy with my players, they know how pleased I am with their work and that is what they need from me.
“Time-wasting. What's that? You never spoke about this when we played lot of matches this season.''
The win moved Chelsea to two points behind Liverpool at the top of the table. Manchester City, with a match in hand, stand just a point further behind after their win at Crystal Palace, and have the superior goal difference.
It appears the title race will go down to the wire but Mourinho does not consider his team to be contenders.
“There is no chance. We were waiting for this match to be the title match [decider] for a long time but for some reason this match didn't become the title match,'' he added. “It was three important points and we need one more to finish third and if we finish third we are in the Champions League automatically.
“A champion is only one team so we don't want a trophy to finish third but we can say we won both matches against the champion as we won both against Liverpool and against City.''
Gerrard's slip in possession just inside his own half that allowed Ba in to score proved the key moment of the match but Mourinho, who revealed captain John Terry has a chance of being fit for Wednesday's Champions League semifinal second leg against Atletico Madrid, took no pleasure in that.
“Nobody enjoys it when someone makes a big mistake,'' Mourinho added. “We enjoy it because it gave us a goal but no-one likes someone to make a mistake in that situation. I prefer to say Demba Ba was fantastic in front of the goalkeeper.''
The build-up had been dominated by speculation about Chelsea's team, with Mourinho saying he would rest players ahead of the game against Atletico.
There were plenty of big names missing, while 20-year-old Czech defender Tomas Kalas started the match.
“We played a good side,” Mourinho said. “Many people would be expecting us to come here and lose three, four or 5-0 like many others did. When people know our focus was on Wednesday, probably many people think it's impossible to get this kind of result.
“Now we have to think about Wednesday, and I would say the game of our lives. To play a Champions League semifinal at Stamford Bridge is something big.”