The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “Chelsea have qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League yet, as the locals celebrated raucously and the acrid smoke from their victory flares drifted across the turf, it was the scowl worn by José Mourinho that summed up this evening’s work. A chance to win this group was passed up in Switzerland, Basel completing a deserved double over the Europa League holders, even if Schalke’s goalless draw in distant Bucharest edged Chelsea through regardless. In the end, they staggered on in a daze.”
The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “This was a chop that Jose Mourinho did not expect. Having taken the clippers to his locks, with that new cropped haircut, he watched as Chelsea were shorn. Cut down, in fact. Having made a rallying cry for bravehearts for the coming intense flurry of matches, Chelsea were meek and mild and deservedly lost without registering a single shot: on or off target. Uefa charitably claimed there was one effort — maybe a Frank Lampard free-kick that dribbled goalwards — but that was pushing it. A lot. Chelsea were caught napping — and Mourinho let them know it.”
The Independent, Simon Johnson: “Chelsea secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League despite slumping to a shock defeat in Switzerland, but Europe’s elite will have little to worry about in the new year’s knockout phase after this woeful display. Mohammed Salah netted the winner Basel deserved three minutes from time to send the home fans into delirium and leave Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho questioning whether his players have the strength to cope with the winter period after all. They have progressed with a game to spare in fortunate fashion because Schalke only drew against Steaua Bucharest and still trail Chelsea by a point, while Basel remain two behind. Chelsea’s closest rivals play each other in the final group game so Mourinho’s side can’t be caught by both, although they will need to win at home against Steaua to guarantee top spot.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “For the second time in this group stage, Basel were deserved winners over Chelsea but Schalke’s 0-0 draw away in Romania puts us through to the Champions League knockout stages. The Blues came looking for the win that would guarantee top spot but that rarely looked on the cards. On a night when Samuel Eto’o was carried off on a stretcher, our attacking play did not record a shot on target, whereas in the first-half the enduring excellence of Petr Cech kept the home side at bay. The second-half display by Chelsea was more solid but with their one genuine opening after the break, Basel scored late in the game through Mohamed Salah. There was no way back and we now need a win at Stamford Bridge against Steaua if we are to guarantee going into the last 16 draw as group stage winners.”
“The only positive thing is that we go through, but not because we got the result. In the end we qualified which is our first objective and now we have the last match at home to finish first.
“Today I want to praise Basel. They won because we were sleeping in the last minutes but they won also because they were the best team and they deserved to win.
“I can only find one aspect. From the first minute I was getting signs of that. My team was tired.
“They paid the price today for the international week. I was afraid of the reaction in the game against West Ham. Maybe because the game was of an outstanding importance for us the team focused and everybody gave a great individual performance and a great collective performance.
“Today we made mistakes defensively, we made mistakes with the ball, we lost easy passes, we lost every second ball, people were thinking late and making late decisions, and we finished with a ridiculous goal.”
- Champions League clockwatch – as it happened
- Jose Mourinho understands the need to rotate players after Champions League progression despite second loss to Swiss champions
(Image via Akiyoshi’s illusion pages.)
Dire hardly seems adequate to describe our performance.
I’m not entirely convinced that we didn’t ask West Ham to stand in for us, or perhaps Jose picked up their gameplan by mistake.
Still, if we’re “tired” now, there’ll be lots of time to rest in December with just 9 games to play.
Another splendid pic choice, Nick. We could say you’re on a roll.
What a shocker that was last night (v Basel). So much for the liberating
effect of 4-3-3 on Saturday. The reality was that West Ham were just
rubbish. Cech was excellent last night and just as well. The defence
looked nervous and jittery but at least held things together until the
last minute. The midfield trio of Ramires, Mikel and Lampard were truly
awful. Not much better further up the field either but at least they had
the excuse that they were getting no service. When will this
marginalisation of Mata end?
..and following a display so totally lacking in inspiration and imagination, I got nostalgic for this feller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b25MZuCzK1U
How we miss his sublime technique, his wonderful vision, his fantastic goals. However under this regime, he might not get a game because he didn’t track back enough
I suppose you could say it’s better to play crap and qualify, than play brilliantly and get eliminated.
That’s the only pearl of wisdom, and positive spin I can put on it.
“Only the brave can survive,” Coach Jose said. And now look what they’ve gone and done. Bravery my arse.
I penned my little reaction to this fiasco thusly:
“I can name all the cowards for you right now. ((And you will note
that the late great Nöel Coward is not on that list and never will be.))
The cowards are: Petr Čech, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Branislav
Ivanović, César Azpilicueta, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Willian,
Ramires, Oscar, Samuel Eto’o, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard &
All of them, utter cowards. I’m not pulling punches with them. I
don’t care what individual effort was made here and there. It does not
and did not matter. As a whole, as a team, they were cowards today and
The rest of it’s here, all 500 words including Nöel Coward’s reaction: http://www.themagicworld.org/bloog/cowards/
I really feel like we don’t even deserve to qualify based on our run of play. And I’ve run out of adjectives, and synonyms for adjectives, It was truly truly awful. I’ll leave it at that.
The players were tired? Well….there’s a difference between playing tired and playing uninspired. Tired is not an excuse for a lack of passion in big games. Suck it up buttercup and get out there and play. The players are not being paid to take a nap in Basel Switzerland at St Jakob’s Stadium. Naptime is AFTER the final whistle, not the 90 minutes and change preceding it.
Well I’m tired too. I fat and I’m old and I’m tired of the weak excuses. I only want to see an inspired performance by players who care, have passion, and keep their minds sharp and in the game at all times. That’s not too much to ask, especially with the talent that we have. fI we do that and then lose, at least we know we gave it our best. Today, Victoria Plzen ((my favourite team from the Czech Republic—I’m part Czech…my kinsmen came to Wisconsin USA in 1856)) played with passion and gave Man City a game. Citeh won 4-2, but Plzen came out fighting and despite outmatched, gave it their all.
I’ll bet Plzen could have beaten Chelsea given their run of play today. We could have used their passion the day before.
And with that, it’s past midnight here in America, and the sun is about to rise in England. Too bad it’s probably going to rain.
Pleased to say I didn’t watch the game and have now seen exactly 0 minutes of Champions League action this season. Shitty tournament.
Jose obviously hoping to pick up a bit of consistency so going for same team rather than rotating- and sounds like that backfired pretty spectacularly. Players complacency also sounds like it was to blame, which is something I’d hoped JM would eradicate.
I think we’re clearly looking better overall on last season but there’s not much more any manager can do with the current mismatched squad. Can’t see us sticking together a run of 10-15 matches that we need to win a title.
How about somebody in the hierarchy take responsibility and sign some of the types of the players we actually need?
Would playing Mata make the blindest bit of difference? Not so sure it would, Oscar has been superb in that position. But he has to get some time on Sunday.
I really do wonder if we’d be in any worse a position overall if we’d just stuck with RDM last November.
Interesting to see JM saying Basle were the best team. This surely means he wants to be their manager, if we are take the logic applied when he said similar about Manchester United last season.
Very interesting read
and this one
It is hard to blame the kid. With our geriatric house of strikers he wouldn’t be getting the play time that is for sure. Those who bought Torres should rot in hell and don’t tell me that he will recover. He will won’t and never will.
Extremely important win