Chelsea recorded an easy 3-0 win over visitors Stoke City on Saturday to keep pace with rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in the English Premier League title race.
A great first-time finish from Mohamed Salah gave the Blues a one-goal lead before half-time, and the Egyptian midfielder would win his team a penalty which was converted in two tries by Frank Lampard.
A beautiful strike from the edge of the box by Willian put the final score on the board, as the hosts coasted to an easy win over a Stoke team that never truly threatened the goal of Petr Cech. The Blues went looking for a fourth goal late in the tie, but some sloppy finishing would ensure Asmir Begovic would only concede three times.
The win concluded what had been a difficult week for Chelsea, as Jose Mourinho and his troops were soundly beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. This win over Stoke was sorely needed, but as Kick TV pointed out, you wouldn't have noticed in Mourinho's reaction to the opening goal:
Salah gets his second goal with Chelsea, and it's a belter. Mourinho doesn't blink an eye. #CFC— KICKTV (@KICKTV) April 5, 2014
The Portuguese mastermind isn't the only EPL coach that has mastered the art of feigning disinterest, as Football Cliches took a shot at Mark Hughes before the match:
Should Mark Hughes, for some reason, be immortalised for his management career in a statue, this would be the pose: pic.twitter.com/EaDSug6Drj— Football Clichés (@FootballCliches) April 5, 2014
As this fan points out, Mourinho's track record at Stamford Bridge is quite impressive:
Jose Mourinho's undefeated PL record as #CFC manager at Stamford Bridge continues: P-77 W-61 D-16 L-0— CarloFan (@CarloFan) April 5, 2014
The Special One didn't exactly go into details when asked about his team's performance against Stoke, as reported by Chelsea Tweets FC:
Mourinho on his teams performance - "I think we played well." #CFC— TweetChelseaFC (@TweetChelseaFC) April 5, 2014
Alison Bender shared the coach's closed nature this season is shared by some of his players:
I tried to ask Matic about what Mourinho REALLY says behind the scenes, he slightly dodged the question, don't blame him really— Alison Bender (@alibendertv) April 5, 2014
The win also put the pressure back on Liverpool, as the Reds will play on Sunday. Mourinho is already looking forward to the trip his club will be taking to Anfield at the end of this month, per Chelsea Sources:
Mourinho: 'We have three points to discuss with Liverpool.' #CFC— Chelsea Sources (@ChelseaSources) April 5, 2014
According to Bridge News, Mourinho reserved special praise for two players in particular:
Mourinho,"Salah was very lively so was Willian" #cfc— Bridge News (@cfc_wale) April 5, 2014
Bleacher Report's Garry Hayes finally reported Mourinho's views on the title race haven't changed, despite taking all three points tonight:
JM: "I haven't changed my mind about the title. [Chelsea are top but ] the table is fake." #CFC— Garry Hayes (@garryhayes) April 5, 2014
Speaking with Stoke's official website, Hughes emphasised he had no complaints about how the match played out, praising the pure quality of the Blues and looking ahead at his team's next fixtures:
We weren’t good enough today truth be told.
(...) We came up against a very good team and when that happens you need every player to play at their maximum, and unfortunately today a number of players didn’t perform to the levels they are capable of.
As a consequence of that, it is very difficult to come to a place like Stamford Bridge and influence the game in the manner that you would like.
We needed a real high-energy game here today and unfortunately for us we just weren’t able to produce that.
You have to give them some credit though because they are a top team and they have quality players who can hurt you.”
(...) We needed to retain the ball better in the attacking areas today, and because we weren’t able to do that, Chelsea were able to put us under a lot of pressure. When that happens then it is inevitable that they will score goals.
Chelsea will travel to Wales to take on Swansey on Sunday when the EPL resumes, but before that, there's the all-important second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against French champions PSG on Tuesday.
Stoke will be facing another difficult match next Saturday when they host Newcastle United.