Steaua Bucharest 0-4 Chelsea: 6 Things We Learned
Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to Basel at Stamford Bridge with a comprehensive 4-0 win over the Romanian champions, leaving the coach convinced that they will qualify from Group E, per Sky Sports.
Ramires opened the scoring after 19 minutes before an unfortunate own goal from Daniel Georgievski gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at halftime. The third goal came on 55 minutes, again courtesy of Ramires, with Frank Lampard netting his 205th goal for the club in stoppage time.
Chelsea played with a confidence and fluidity that undermines the early-season claims of a crisis at the club, but there were a few lessons to take from this tie.
Fernando Torres Can't Catch a Break
Following his performance against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, it looked like Torres might be finally finding his feet again. He started the match in Bucharest ahead of Samuel Eto'o, but was withdrawn with a knee injury after just 11 minutes.
Although the news that his one-match suspension for the red card he received at Spurs will not be extended was a relief, the striker will be left to sweat on the results of a scan to determine what his involvement will be going forward.
This improvement-followed-by-a-setback theme has dogged him throughout his time at Chelsea. Forget Mario Balotelli, Torres should adopt "why always me?" as his personal motto.
Juan Mata Is Back in the Fold
Mata earned his return to the starting 11 with a game-changing intervention at Tottenham. His link-up play with Oscar was excellent as ever as the two switched between the right wing and the No. 10 role throughout the match.
There is no doubting the difference that Mata makes to the side, and Mourinho is certainly happy with the adaptations he has made to his game.
During his post match press conference, per the The Daily Record, he had this to say about the Spanish playmaker:
"He played very well with the ball, as he always does. But he also played very well without the ball, which he never did."
Expect to see much more of Mata in the coming months as he returns to his key role within the side.
Mourinho Has Made the Team More Disciplined
Chelsea's performances last season were often erratic, and their defeat in their opening game to FC Basel highlighted a lack of discipline within the side. Since then, they have got their act together, and Mourinho has certainly played a key role in that.
The team are adopting his philosophy of working as a unit rather than within their designated areas of the pitch, and it is paying dividends. Even David "liability" Luiz has become more focused, as he made 10 effective clearances and five interceptions in Romania.
Andre Schurrle Deserves a Chance
Andre Schurrle has found himself in and out of the starting 11 since his £18 million move from Bayer Leverkusen this summer.
Alongside his three key passes and nine successful dribbles, Schurrle made two tackles and an effective clearance as he showed off his all-round game.
Regardless of Hazard's recovery, the young German showed that he deserves a run in the starting lineup.
Chelsea Need to Improve Their Long-Range Efforts
Chelsea had 22 shots on goal in Bucharest, nine of which were on target. However, 57 percent of the Blues' shots came from outside the box, while only one of those was converted. Lampard's last-minute strike aside, the Blues' main threat came from working the ball into the box.
They will need to work on their long-range accuracy to counter the high defensive line that they will regularly face this season if they are to keep their goalscoring rhythm.
Steaua Will Struggle to Get out of the Group
The Romanian champions were tipped to challenge for the second qualifying spot from Group E, with a third-place finish the more realistic goal. They currently sit bottom of the group following two defeats, and their performance against the Europa League champions was uninspiring.
From a slow defensive line to a lack of potency up front, Steaua will need to dramatically improve if they are to stand a chance of playing in the Europa League, never mind continuing in UEFA's premier competition.