It is no coincidence that Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho made history on Tuesday night by reaching a record-breaking eighth UEFA Champions League semi-final, and fifth in a row, following his side’s dramatic elimination of Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge.
The Special One, who has still to lose a quarter-final tie in Europe’s premier club competition thanks to Demba Ba’s late, late strike in West London, gave us all an insight after the full-time whistle into the extraordinary levels of pre-match preparation and detail that he and his backroom staff are renowned for.
Mourinho revealed that he and his team had trained specifically at their Cobham HQ on Monday for a scenario where they would be chasing the game with half an hour remaining, which would necessitate the use of three out-and-out strikers supplied by direct balls from the back, as opposed to midfield.
"We risked everything," said Mourinho per Sky Sports."Demba, Nando [Fernando Torres] and [Samuel] Eto'o all played together and we tried to play direct because our midfield were really tired and broken, but also because Paris were in that situation and we know that they are not adapted to this kind of football.
"In France, they completely dominate and the style of French football has nothing to do with this direct approach."
And even Mou’s last-gasp touchline run to seemingly celebrate with his players following Ba’s 87th-minute strike, so reminiscent of scenes at Old Trafford in 2004 while the Portuguese was in charge of Porto, had a tactical motive behind it.
"It was not to celebrate," Mourinho explained post match per the Guardian. "It was to tell the players how we had to play the last few minutes. I knew at that moment they wanted to celebrate, to think the game is over.
“They forget that they had three plus three or four other minutes to play, and the way we were playing we couldn't carry on winning 2-0. I had to go there because it would be the only chance I'd have to tell Demba, Fernando and [Andre] Schurrle what to do in the last seven minutes. But you could see I can still run…