Mourinho content as Blues cruise to win

Chelsea 3 Sporting Lisbon 1

Mourinho content as Blues cruise to win

The Blues had already qualified for the last 16 as group winners, with Sporting hoping to join them ahead of Schalke, managed by Chelsea’s European Cup-winning manager Roberto di Matteo.

A Cesc Fabregas penalty and goals from Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel — his fifth goal in more than 300 Blues appearances — meant Sporting had to rely on Maribor avoiding defeat against Schalke.

But the Germans won 1-0 in Slovenia to advance to the knockout stages.

“We were very focused and serious. I’m happy with that. I feel sorry for Sporting, I would have liked them to qualify,” said Mourinho.

“The win was important. It was a good reaction to losing at Newcastle and a good chance for players to have more minutes. I’m happy with many things we did.

Chelsea had made six changes to the side which lost at Newcastle – the Blues’ first defeat in 24 matches this season – but strolled to a 2-0 lead within 16 minutes.

Jonathan Silva pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half, but Mikel restored the two-goal advantage within six minutes.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, an 18-year-old midfielder who has been at Chelsea since the age of eight, came off the substitutes’ bench for his debut with seven minutes remaining on what was a comfortable night for the home side.

Chelsea always appeared likely to win Group G, the only surprise was that their passage was not more comfortable.

The Blues opened with a draw with Schalke, who they beat 5-0 in Germany, beat Maribor 6-0, but drew the return and edged to a 1-0 win in Lisbon before Wednesday night’s triumph.

Chelsea will face sterner tests when their quest for a second European Cup — and Mourinho’s third with three different clubs — resumes, but first Hull await when they return to domestic duty on Saturday.

Fabregas, suspended for the Hull match, was one of five players retained after the 2-1 loss at Newcastle. John Terry, Eden Hazard, Willian and Thibaut Courtois were rested.

Filipe Luis, who came in at left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta switched to the right, made his intentions clear from the start, rampaging up and down his flank. The Brazil left-back nutmegged Ricardo Esgaio inside the area and fell over the right-back’s out-stretched leg.

Referee Svein Oddvar Moen pointed to the spot and Fabregas’ shot down the middle put Chelsea in front.

It was soon 2-0 as Nemanja Matic waltzed forward in the left channel and fed Schurrle whose low shot from the edge of the area was out of the reach of Rui Patricio.

Chelsea’s swashbuckling approach left them vulnerable as Sporting played mainly on the break.

Islam Slimani headed wide and fell under the challenge of Azpilicueta, with penalty appeals dismissed.

Diego Costa, who Mourinho believes needs to sharpen up, had an effort blocked and then almost created an opportunity by bludgeoning a hole through Sporting’s defence.

Sporting wanted their Champions League fate to be in their own hands and got a goal back when Schurrle failed to head clear a cross.

Silva controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed into the bottom corner, beyond Petr Cech.

Any hopes Sporting had were quickly dashed as Chelsea’s two-goal lead was swiftly restored, through an unlikely scorer.

Fabregas’ inswinging free-kick was flicked on by Gary Cahill for Matic and Mikel to meet it on the line.

The Nigeria midfielder last season scored twice – his first goals after a barren streak of almost seven years – and was credited with the final touch.

Cech stretched to save Silva’s effort late on as Sporting had to be content with Europa League.

CHELSEA: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Zouma, Luis, Fabregas (Loftus-Cheek 83), Mikel, Matic, Salah (Remy 71), Costa, Schurrle (Ramires 74).

SPORTING: Rui Patricio, Ricardo Esgaio, Mauricio, Paulo Oliveira, Silva, Joao Mario (Andre Martins 69), William Carvalho (Montero 60), Adrien Silva, Carrillo, Slimani, Diego Capel (Carlos Mane 60).

Ref: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway).

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