Paris – Chelsea manager José Mourinho criticised his team's sloppy defending and lack of a cutting edge after they went down 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Wednesday.
The Premier League side recovered from the loss of an early Ezequiel Lavezzi goal to equalise courtesy of an Eden Hazard penalty just before the half-hour mark and the Belgian also struck the post before half-time.
However, PSG seized the initiative again in the second period and a David Luiz own goal put them back in front before Javier Pastore's stoppage-time effort handed the Ligue 1 leaders a potentially decisive two-goal advantage heading into next Tuesday's return at Stamford Bridge.
“I think by the strategical point of view the team had great discipline, and the most difficult things to do in the game they did very well,” said Mourinho, who is looking to become the first coach to win the European Cup with three different clubs following previous triumphs with Porto and Inter Milan.
“They stopped (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. (Edinson) Cavani was under control. The positional play from (Thiago) Motta and (Marco) Verratti in the centre of the pitch was completely under control.
“But we couldn't transform the half-chances that we created into goals and on top of that we made defensive mistakes, individidual defensive mistakes. So we paid the price.”
The opening goal came from a poor defensive header by Chelsea captain John Terry while David Luiz gave away the free-kick which led to his own goal and goalkeeper Petr Cech was beaten at his near post for Pastore's third.
“In the first goal the ball goes to Lavezzi - control, half-volley, boom. It's like this at this level - one chance, one goal,” admitted Mourinho.
“The game was under control and we had the chance to go 2-1 up at the end of the first half. But we didn't score and then after that we scored in our own goal and after that the third goal, it was a joke. It was not a goal it was a joke.”
The Portuguese also confirmed that his decision to select winger Andre Schuerrle in attack rather than Fernando Torres in the absence of the injured Samuel Eto'o reflected a lack of confidence in his mis-firing strikers.
“I'm not happy with my strikers' performances, so I have to try things, and with Andre at least we know we have one more player to associate with the other players.
“But football is not just about that. It's about scoring goals and getting in behind. And that is for strikers, real strikers.”
Mourinho, who insisted that his team have “nothing to lose now” must wish that he could be reunited with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the PSG striker who played for him at Inter in 2008-09.
The Swede, who has scored 40 goals in all competitions this season, is a doubt for the second leg, however, after coming off with what looked like a thigh injury in the second half at the Parc des Princes, but PSG can still call on Cavani, Lavezzi and Pastore, among others.
And the French club's coach Laurent Blanc singled out Lavezzi for praise after the Argentinian produced an outstanding performance and also lauded his team for their second-half display.
“Ezequiel is back on top form now and he brings us depth and pace in attack. And on top of that he got a goal - and a forward always gets a better mark when they get a goal,” said the former France defender.
“The performance was encouraging. At half-time maybe some were wondering if we were really up to the level of Chelsea but we had a very constructive discussion at half-time, we knew we had to work harder and be more disciplined in midfield, and the second half was excellent.”
On the significance of Pastore's goal, Blanc said: “I don't know if it will be decisive, but now I think Chelsea will be obliged to attack us.
“Our philosophy is to have the ball. It will be tough, but we've given ourselves the possibility to be able to play for a place in the last four, so bravo to the players.” – Sapa-AFP