Eden Hazard offered a further stinging critique of Jose Mourinho’s tactical methods after Chelsea exited the Champions League last night.
The Blues were criticised for defensive tactics employed in the semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid and in the Premier League win at Liverpool before tumbling out of Europe after a 3-1 home loss.
“Chelsea aren’t set up to play football,” Belgian Hazard told beIN SPORTS’ French station. “Chelsea are set up to counter-attack.”
Unless there is a remarkable final twist in the Premier League title race, Mourinho is poised to finish without a trophy for a second successive season for the first time.
Assessing his first campaign back at Stamford Bridge ahead of the closing Premier League matches with Norwich and Cardiff, Mourinho said he and his players clung to a dream which disappeared.
“We are realistic, but at the same time we are optimistic,” he said. “When things go in a certain direction, there is a moment where you dream and you think that things are possible, even if things are not.
“And because we did well in the Champions League and in the Premier League, there was a moment where we felt we could do it.
“In the Premier League it was the match against Aston Villa that made me believe that we had no chance to be champions.
“After that we build again the momentum and we were waiting for the Liverpool match to be the title match, but we had another surprise against Sunderland.
“In the Champions League, it’s the same. We knew that teams had more potential than us and were more ready than us to win the competition, but because you go step by step and beat Paris St Germain after a 3-1 defeat, you build your dream.
“And today, I think it was proved that we had our chances. Until minute 61 we were completely in the game. And 2-1 for Chelsea, or 2-1 for Atletico. That moment was crucial and, from that moment, the game was over.”
Fernando Torres scored against his former club to put Chelsea in front, but that was as good as it got for the hosts as Adrian swiftly equalised.
Then came the 60 seconds Mourinho felt were decisive as Thibaut Courtois, playing against his parent club, saved a John Terry header.
Atletico advanced down the other end and substitute Samuel Eto’o tripped Diego Costa, with the striker coveted by Chelsea converting the penalty before Arda Turan added a third to set up a May 24 final with city rivals Real.
“In one minute, two actions decided the game,” Mourinho said. “Atletico’s goalkeeper makes an impossible save from John Terry’s header and instead of 2-1 to Chelsea, a few seconds later a penalty.
“The save is amazing and the penalty is a penalty. After that, there was only one team on the pitch. We had immediately the feeling the game was lost.”