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    Sheff Utd




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Stamford Bridge, England

Referee: C Foy | Attendance: 40845

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  • Oscar 27'

1 - 0


Mourinho pleased to avoid replay

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho felt his side should have recorded a much more comfortable victory over Stoke in their FA Cup fourth-round tie but was ultimately pleased they got the job done at the first attempt.

Oscar opened the scoring with a brilliant 27th-minute free-kick but Chelsea were then forced to sweat right until the final whistle after failing to make the most of a number of great chances to kill Stoke off.

Mourinho, on his 51st birthday, felt the 1-0 scoreline was not a true reflection of the game and the way his side dominated, but was happy to avoid going to a replay.

He said on ITV: "I think 1-0 is short for the way we played and for the way we controlled the game, but the important thing today was to win and not play a replay, because we don't need an extra match and I think that was a good thing.'' 

Frank Lampard, Chelsea captain for the day, also felt his side should have had the game wrapped up by the interval.

"First half I think we were fantastic today. Disappointed not to be two or three up at half-time and then we'd have cruised it, but at 1-0 you have to keep on your guard all along,'' he said.

Sunday's victory means the Blues have now won seven successive matches in all competitions and are still in contention for several pieces of silverware this season.

Lampard added: "There's a good feeling about the place, the manager coming back, it took a little bit of time to get across his point I think and in the last couple of months we're finding that bit of mentality, that sort of feeling in the dressing room and we're going out with more confidence. And we have to keep that up, the minute you drop that the results turn so we have to make sure we keep at it.'' 

The England midfielder also hailed the abundance of attacking talent at Mourinho's disposal that means Chelsea were able to let Juan Mata join Manchester United.

He said: "Juan Mata is an absolutely fantastic player, but more than that he's an absolutely great lad and we wish him all the best personally. The difficult thing here is having so many quality players, and Oscar has been fantastic this year, as has [Eden] Hazard. Willian's shown that and we've got so many riches in that position.'' 

Mourinho also moved to laud the work ethic of Oscar after the Brazilian's star performance.     

"The free-kick obviously made us happy,'' Mourinho said. "It's always good when you see a player that, after the normal training session, dedicates some minutes every day to train a specific thing. To score a beautiful goal was good.  It's a bit of a contradiction because we played so well and you win with a free-kick. When you play so well you win by scoring some amazing goals in free play.

"The 1-0 doesn't reflect the quality of our game and the dominance of our game. We hit the post twice. [Stoke goalkeeper Asmir] Begovic again showed how good he is. The boys played really well. We controlled the game since minute one and I'm happy not just with the victory, but also the performance.''

It was a win which allowed Mourinho to enjoy his birthday dinner with his wife and two children.

He said: "One thing now is to have a dinner where I don't have to pretend that I'm happy; it's better to have a dinner where I'm happy.''

Oscar is Mourinho's chosen playmaker, something which saw Juan Mata marginalised and move to Manchester United.

Mourinho sanctioned the deal with a heavy heart as Mata, Chelsea's player of the year in each of the last two seasons, was unable to satisfy his demands to track back in defence.

The Portuguese, who read Mata's departing open letter to Chelsea fans, said: "I feel sorry that I didn't make him happy, but football is football and I build a team around Oscar in that position and on the sides the other people are doing very, very well. Juan is not comfortable on the sides. He tried very hard and he did very well in some matches playing on the sides, but it's not his natural habitat. So when a club like Man United comes and for sure they told him he's going to play in his favourite position and he wants to go, he goes.''

Eden Hazard is another whose performances have impressed Mourinho. The Belgian again performed well despite close attention from Stoke.

"Some other clubs, not just in England, especially not in England, they cry a lot with the [lack of] protection of their big players,'' Mourinho said. "I don't want to cry, because it's not my nature, it's not Chelsea's nature. But, because Eden is small but a very strong boy and resists a lot and doesn't like to dive and doesn't like to be on the floor, opponents are coming very, very strong on him. Today [referee] Mr [Chris] Foy was just a little bit late to give the yellow card to [Geoff] Cameron. It was on the third tackle. But he gave the yellow card and after the yellow card the situation was different. After that Cameron played a normal game.''

The reassuring presence of the re-signed Nemanja Matic in midfield allowed the attacking players to flourish.

"The team flies when somebody makes it so simple,'' Mourinho said. "He was very comfortable on the pitch. He stole lots of balls and his pass was always quality.''

Stoke manager Mark Hughes was magnanimous in defeat.

"Overall Chelsea on the day deserve to go through, but I was pleased we were very much in the game right till the end,'' Hughes said. "It was a fantastic strike [by Oscar], but we were a little bit disappointed with the initial award of the free-kick; we felt it was a challenge that didn't merit a free-kick. There was very little contact. But you have to hold your hands up when a player produces a little bit of quality like Oscar did.

"You have to get a little bit of luck when you come to places like Stamford Bridge and maybe we didn't force the issue enough to change things in our direction. You're never happy to go out of a cup competition, but in terms of performance I'm reasonably pleased.''

Stoke play Sunderland on Wednesday and could have Peter Odemwingie in the squad, with Hughes expecting a swap deal which will see Kenwyne Jones go to Cardiff to be completed on Monday. 

Scoring Summary

  • Chelsea
  • Stoke City
Oscar (27')

Match Stats

  • Chelsea
  • Stoke City
19(5) Shots (on goal) 12(1)
8 Fouls 12
0 Corner kicks 0
2 Offsides 0
0% Time of Possession 0%
0 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
1 Saves 4


  • Chelsea
  • Stoke City
Ramires for Andre Schürrle (70')
Willian for Oscar (81')
Demba Ba for Samuel Eto'o (85')
Yellow Cards
Geoff Cameron (32')
Marc Wilson (45 + 1')
Erik Pieters (83')