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Apr 24, 2014

Schwarzer defends Mourinho's tactics

FC's Steve Nicol isn't concerned with how Chelsea play, if they are able to find success with a defensive strategy.

Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer stands by the defensive tactics deployed by Blues boss Jose Mourinho during his side's 0-0 Champions League semifinal first-leg draw against Atletico Madrid.

Sub keeper Mark Schwarzer makes a simple claim.
Mark Schwarzer kept a clean sheet after coming on for the injured Petr Cech versus Atletico.

• O'Worrall: Veterans hold firm
• Brewin: Loan danger for Blues

Former Australia international Schwarzer is in line to play the remaining games of Chelsea's season after stepping in to replace the injured Petr Cech 18 minutes into the clash at the Vincente Calderon stadium on Tuesday.

The Blues secured a stalemate against the Liga leaders with a solid defensive display, and Schwarzer is convinced the methods deployed by Mourinho were justified, insisting that defending was "underestimated" in the modern game.

"I can understand the purists want to see attacking football and goals going in; there’s nothing better than watching that," Schwarzer told the the club's official website.

"A 0-0 can be a bit boring sometimes, but as a team we want to get through to the final. Defending is a massive part of the game, and it's underestimated.

"Maybe we didn't get forward enough and take advantage of some of the small opportunities we had. Defensively without a doubt, we were set up to try not to concede and give ourselves a good platform.

"I am glad I could play my part to get a good result ahead of the return leg. It's halftime and it's 0-0, but we can't underestimate them.

"They have quality all over the pitch, can score from anywhere and we need to make sure we play at our best."

While Schwarzer offered his sympathy to Cech after the Chelsea No.1 dislocated his shoulder in Madrid, he is relishing the chance to take centre stage in what could be a thrilling end to the season for the Blues -- and the veteran shot-stopper has vowed to help his side halt Liverpool’s title charge at Anfield on Sunday.

"I really enjoyed the experience, I really enjoyed the game," he added, reflecting on his clean sheet against Atletico. "Even at the age of 41 you can experience something new.

"To play a Champions League semifinal was fantastic. It was unbelievable playing in a Champions League game a couple of months ago, and now to play at this stage as fantastic.

"It’s been a new experience and it’s been tough but I made a decision and it's been great in a lot of ways.

"The experiences I've had as part of this team I wouldn't have had anywhere else. You know somewhere along the line maybe you'll get an opportunity and it as one of those.

"[Now, we] have to focus on the next match, which is a rather large one on Sunday. There's always a chance while it's mathematically possible. We have to go there with the mindset that we want to win the game.

"We've beaten the top teams this season and want to keep that going. Liverpool are the frontrunners and have everything to lose, and we need to go there and spoil their party."

Mourinho has warned that he may field a weakened starting XI at Anfield on Sunday in order to prepare for the visit of Atletico next Wednesday as Chelsea suffer from a host of injuries and suspensions.

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