FA Cup: Derby County vs Chelsea: Mourinho Praise for Goalscorer Mikel
By Deepak Vikraman | January 6, 2014 3:53 PM EST
Jose Mourinho was pleased with his side's performance after two second-half goals saw Chelsea move past Derby County 2-0 in the FA Cup third round.
Goals from John Obi Mikel and Oscar eased Chelsea through to round four of the FA Cup, after Derby, under former England manager Steve McLaren, had initially stunted the away side's efforts on goal in a turgid first 45 minutes.
"The game was difficult," Mourinho said. "In the first half we played quite well, we were not far from scoring but it was still 0-0 at half-time and that is a big risk, because after that if the opponent scores you are in trouble.
"They got the message that in the second half we needed an extra intensity. I decided to change [Michael] Essien for Eden Hazard to bring an extra attacking player on to make it more difficult for them.
"The team played seriously, we won, job done."
It was a memorable day for Mikel, who took the captain's armband from Essien before going on to open the scoring in his 300th appearance for Chelsea, who will now play Stoke City in the fourth round.
"I never recognise his ability to score goals," Mourinho said with a smile. "I recognise his ability to play as an anchorman, to play that position in a very comfortable way, with no mistakes. He reads the game well, plays in an intelligent and safe way, but I never recognise his goalscoring appetite.
"There was a smile on my face [when he scored]. For some reason Essien gave him the armband, normally it should go to Ashley Cole, so maybe it made him believe he was a goalscorer!
"It was important for us, we were dominating and dominating, creating and creating but the goal was not arriving. It was like the winning goal."
McLaren was quite proud of his players, and believes the fact that Mourinho put out a strong team shows just how much "respect" Chelsea had for Derby.
"I couldn't be more proud, we've played against one of the best teams not just in the Premier League, but in Europe," he said. "They have a front four that you can't get near sometimes.
"Jose showed respect with the team he played. He's got a good squad and a good team there, good young players. The fans must have enjoyed our effort and the quality of the Chelsea team.
"We don't have this kind of quality coming here every week in the Championship, the belief must grow because we dealt with it. Apart from the result I couldn't be more delighted."
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