Desperate measures required to beat U's

CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho admitted that visiting Colchester United “played better” than his star-studded team in the first half of yesterday's pulsating FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge.

By Carl Marston

CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho admitted that visiting Colchester United “played better” than his star-studded team in the first half of yesterday's pulsating FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho was forced to reshuffle his pack, by introducing substitutes Joe Cole and Frank Lampard for the start of the second-half, and then giving Hernan Crespo a run-out for the final half-hour of the match.

He had wanted to rest this trio, looking ahead to Wednesday's European Champions League match against Barcelona, but in the end he was required to take desperate measures to finally overcome plucky Colchester. “When we gave them (Colchester) the space and the time to think, they played good football and played better than us,” explained Mourinho.

“We had to inject more intensity into our play in the second half, with more speed on the ball and more speed of movement. They couldn't handle this. There were no strong words at half-time. Frank (Lampard) does not like to sit on the bench, and so I told him that he would come on for the final 20 or 25 minutes.

“But I decided to make the changes earlier. We gave Colchester too much in the first half, and if you give players from a lower division that much time and space, then they begin to look like you. Colchester finished the game with their players exhausted. They gave us a proper match,” added Mourinho. The Chelsea boss was just relieved that the U's scored their goal early in the game (after 28 minutes), rather than grabbing the lead with only a few minutes to go.

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He added: “I was not worried when they scored. Colchester hit the post and had another chance, as well as getting the goal. But there was plenty of time for us to change the game.

“If it had come with just 15 minutes to go, then a big team could struggle. But there was a big difference in the second half.

“I think the Colchester players can be proud of what they did. They gave us a game. They played with confidence, and they were certainly not afraid of us. They tried to win the game, not go for a 0-0 to get a replay. But we were not surprised with how Colchester played, because we had watched the videos and we respected their qualities.

“They brought a lot of fans with them, and the believed it was possible to win. I don't know Phil Parkinson, but I believe that he is a good manager. Colchester played some nice pieces of football, and they have some good players. The team plays with visions, and they are well organised. They created problems for us,” added Mourinho.

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