Jose Mourinho Gets It Horribly Wrong as PSG Punish Careless Chelsea

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

"Ridiculous," was Jose Mourinho's response to the Sky Sports reporter after Chelsea's 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-final.

The Blues' manager was discussing PSG's third goal, although when he thinks about how this game panned out on the Eurostar back to London, he will probably be saying the same about his tactics.

Chelsea started without a recognized striker against Laurent Blanc's side, leaving both Fernando Torres and Demba Ba on the bench and they paid the ultimate price.

The latter is understandable, but to prefer Andre Schurrle to Torres was one wise move too many for Mourinho, who will be ruing that fact should Chelsea fail to overturn their two-goal deficit at Stamford Bridge next week.

Some pundits described the inclusion of Schurrle in the No. 9 role as a protest pick from Mourinho. That's giving the Portuguese too much credit.

He may bemoan the ability of those front men he has at his disposal, but there's little he can do about it until the end of the season. And protest or not, with a Champions League semifinal at stake, now was hardly the moment for making statements to the board.

We saw Mourinho make the same move very early into his Chelsea return when he took the Blues north to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

It was only the second game of the season and that night Torres remained on the bench, with Schurrle leading the line.

Chelsea were pretty much toothless in attack and the game ended in a goalless draw. Low and behold, it was a similar outcome in the French capital.

With it being so early in the campaign and Mourinho still looking for the best formula shortly after his comeback, it was a tactic that carried an air of reason.

It was a worthwhile experiment, but what we learned that August night is that Schurrle isn't quite ready to be deployed in a central role. It's on the wing where he is effective and has proved most influential this year.

Mourinho hasn't hinted at doing it again, which says enough about how disastrous it proved against United. Then came Wednesday in Paris—the biggest night of the season so far for Chelsea.

"You cannot ask me that," was his answer when asked for the thinking behind such a move.

It wasn't an admission of guilt for the way Chelsea threw this game away, but it was as good an acknowledgement as we're going to get from the Portuguese.

Schurrle worked tirelessly for his teammates, yet when opportunities were there to exploit PSG and make their first-half dominance count, Chelsea didn't have enough bodies in dangerous positions to capitalize.

Torres' scoring record is a far cry from his Liverpool days, yet he would have at least gave the presence Chelsea needed in the box. By the time he was introduced on the hour, with his confidence no doubt having taken a massive knock, it was too late.

Where is Chelsea's season going now? The Premier League is a mathematical possibility, but in reality they are now out of the race for the title after recent defeats to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. After Wednesday, they have it all to do if they're to remain in the Champions League, too, which is a crying shame.

Save for a crazy opening four minutes, when Ezequiel Lavezzi exquisitely put PSG in front, Chelsea were in control of this game.

At half-time, very few people would have predicted what was to come. But with their manager's surprising tactics and a few gaffes along the way, the Blues proved masters of their own downfall.

David Luiz's own goal to make it 2-1 came on the back of the Brazilian giving away a very poor free-kick, while Javier Pastore's last-ditch effort to put PSG firmly in control of the tie should never have materialized, regardless of how impressive it was.

Chelsea had kept Zlatan Ibrahimovic quiet throughout and as for Edinson Cavani, the defence made him look anything but a player worth the £50 million PSG paid Napoli for him last summer.

PSG weren't worth three goals, but score them they did on the back of some uncharacteristic errors.

Chelsea's Champions League status for this season remains in tatters as a result. They're going to need to draw on the spirit of 2012 if they are to turn things around, but it was Didier Drogba—a striker—who was the protagonist back then.

Mourinho very clearly doesn't have faith in those he has now, so who is going to step up and pull him out of a hole?

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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