Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho: 'We've Cleaned out the Garbage'
And just like that, Chelsea's Champions League campaign is back on track.
Jose Mourinho's Blues put in a professional display on Tuesday night to defeat Schalke 3-0 in the Veltins-Arena, leap-frogging Jens Keller's side to sit at the summit of Group E.
It wasn't a performance devoid of problems, but nonetheless, Mourinho was rightly happy with his players as they put defeat against Basel on Matchday 1 behind them to take control of their group, securing back-to-back victories after they comprehensively beat Steaua Bucharest last time out.
"It was an important result," Mourinho told Sky Sports in his post-match television interview. "I told the players after the match against Basel: 'We did garbage. We have to clean it.' And we've cleaned it in the best possible way. We've taken two consecutive victories away, six points and [are now] leading the group."
Indeed Chelsea are, yet they've done it without reaching the peak of their powers.
It's been well-documented that the Blues are not exactly the free-flowing outfit many thought they would become this season with such attacking talent at their disposal. They've looked disjointed at times as Mourinho endeavors to build the team in his vision, but now we're seeing the fruits of their labor.
As we reach November, recent performances suggest Chelsea are coming together. Victory in Germany reinforced that fact.
Eden Hazard—who scored his team's third on the night—and Oscar were influential once more, whilst Andre Schurrle continued his development that has seen him deliver on the promise his Bundesliga form had previously shown.
Gary Cahill looks more than a back-up to David Luiz alongside John Terry, and Ramires' talents seem to know little bounds in the middle.
Above all else on Tuesday, however, it was a brace from Fernando Torres that will give Chelsea fans and their manager hope the Blues are now finding their feet, becoming the team we anticipated after a summer pondering the return of the "Special One."
From watching his strikers struggle this term, Mourinho suddenly finds himself in a conundrum. Demba Ba impressed against Norwich City shortly before the international break, while Samuel Eto'o opened his goalscoring account against Cardiff City at the weekend.
Now Torres is back from injury and suspension, looking as sharp as ever in a Chelsea shirt. The signs are good, but what's more is the pieces are slotting into place at the right time.
It's been around this time of year in recent seasons when Chelsea have imploded, losing form after a bright start and bidding farewell to their manager as a result.
Not this season.
It was a surprise when Basel came away from Stamford Bridge with their 2-1 victory in September, but in their two Champions League games since, Chelsea have shown what they're capable of.
Will Chelsea qualify from Group E in the Champions League?
The Blues' league form has seen them climb to second in the table, too, remaining undefeated in all competitions since that Basel loss—a sequence that's seen them win six matches in seven.
Chelsea have turned Group E on its head. They've recovered from their Matchday 1 setback, and after two away victories that see them sitting top of the pile, it'll be an act of folly to bet against them storming to the knockout stages of the Champions League as group winners now.
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