Eden Hazard said Chelsea struggle when they are unable to play on the counter-attack, telling beIN Sports after their Champions League exit the team is “not made to play football.”
Jose Mourinho was criticised for his defensive tactics in the 0-0 draw in the semifinal first leg at Atletico Madrid and in the 2-0 Premier League win at Liverpool, and on Wednesday -- despite taking the lead through Fernando Torres -- they exited Europe following a 3-1 home loss to Diego Simeone’s men.
Hazard, who managed three shots and led the Blues with two on target on Wednesday, told beIN Sports' French station after the match: “I don't know what we lacked.
“After scoring, we had the game in our hands. Maybe they wanted it more than we did. It was an intense game, beautiful to watch with opportunities. I'm sad but logic has been respected because [Atletico] deserved to qualify.
“Chelsea is not made to play football. We're good on the counter, a little bit like Real against Bayern.”
Hazard was twice guilty of defensive lapses in moves that led to two of Atletico's goals, but the Belgian bemoaned a lack of assistance whn trying to turn the tie around.
“Their goal hurt us before the break,” he said. “We failed to make the difference in the second half. Often, I'm asked to do it all by myself and it's not easy. It was a complicated game. It will be a lesson for us regarding next year.”
Jose Mourinho introduced the term “parking the bus” into English football nearly a decade ago while complaining about Tottenham's defensive tactics. Now he's regarded as the ultimate exponent of that approach, sitting players back and waiting to counter.
His team failed to score in a drab goalless draw in the first draw against Atletico, but the same tactics worked brilliantly in a 2-0 defeat of Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday.
Mourinho stuck by his philosophy last week, saying, "Atletico were frustrated, whereas usually they are the ones who frustrate other teams. My side had a solid performance, we played in a way that irritated them."
The tactics were defended by Andre Schuerrle and Mark Schwarzer during the week, as well as Atletico manager Diego Simeone earlier in the week.
Liverpool's Spanish defender Jose Enrique tweeted several times during the match. He wrote "Vamos! Vamos!" after Atletico's equaliser, before adding "Yes!" when they took the lead.
After the result he was more damning of Chelsea's performance.
This is what happens when you don't play football......— José enrique (@Jesanchez3) April 30, 2014
Information from the Press Association was used in this report