STAMFORD BRIDGE, LONDON—
It's the mark of champions, they say. Despite a poor display against Schalke in the Champions League on Wednesday, Chelsea showed they haven't lost that winning feeling, running out 3-0 winners.
Speaking ahead of this clash, Blues midfielder Oscar had revealed the mood in the Stamford Bridge dressing room since the weekend defeat to Newcastle United had been tense.
"Mr Mourinho has been very angry since the Newcastle game, very angry indeed and frustrated," the Brazilian told Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard. "We know his personality and it is scary when he’s angry like this."
Despite this victory, it should be the same.
Jose Mourinho may have seen his Chelsea team bounce back, but as he sits back and analyses the performance, his mood will not be lifted.
Chelsea continued very much where they had left off against Newcastle, conceding cheap possession in midfield on which Julian Draxler and Adam Szalai should have capitalized early on.
Instead, the Germans were left to rue not making the most of their early dominance when Samuel Eto'o opened the scores on 31 minutes, pouncing on some lax goalkeeping from Timo Hildebrand.
Indeed, that goal summed up Chelsea's fortunes in coming out with all three points to strengthen their position as leaders of Group E—lucky.
The Blues aren't going to experience many nights like this in the Champions League and should count themselves fortunate that they didn't suffer as they did to Basel on Matchday 1.
It feels strange to say it, but they clearly have problems that Mourinho must address. They may be second in the Premier League and on the brink of qualifying for the next stage in the Champions League, but they need to improve in certain areas—especially midfield—if they are to make an impression later in the season.
One area that seems to be sorting itself out is up front. Eto'o scored twice before Demba Ba came from the bench to add Chelsea's third.
Eto'o himself drifted in and out of the game, but he showed the presence of the great striker we once knew at Barcelona. He showed plenty of guile for his first, while his second was a cool finish with all the quality we would expect from a man of his standing.
Fernando Torres must have been cursing his luck. Just as he looks to be Mourinho's first-choice striker, he suffers another injury and is forced to watch on as his teammates—and rivals—find themselves among the goals.
It was a night of many ups and downs for Chelsea, but they did the important thing in winning. Now to get that panache and swagger back.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes.
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