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Mourinho in a hurry to smooth out game plan

Updated: 2014-04-10 07:14
( China Daily)

Jose Mourinho's touchline dash after Chelsea scored the goal that clinched its Champions League semifinal place on Tuesday was not done just because he wanted to celebrate with his players at the corner flag.

Although it evoked memories of his famous victory sprint and knee slide with Porto against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2004, the coach explained he had something else in mind near the end of the Blues' 2-0 win over Paris St. Germain.

The Portuguese leapt out of his technical area and sprinted away, punching the air with his right fist after Demba Ba's 87th-minute strike evened the aggregate score at 3-3 and saw Chelsea advance on the away goals rule.

"I didn't go to the corner flag to celebrate, but you can see I can run," Mourinho said at Stamford Bridge.

"I went to tell them the changes we had to make. There were three minutes plus added time left and the way we were playing was too risky.

"I wanted Demba Ba to play in front of the defenders and (fellow substitute striker) Fernando Torres to defend (PSG's) Maxwell. I tried to use them in different jobs."

It speaks volumes for Mourinho that he tried to get through to his men when they were screaming in delight and the noise from the delirious home fans was at its peak on an incredibly tense night.

Having glimpsed success, he was not prepared to waste a moment securing it as he stayed on course to become the first man to lift the European Cup with three different clubs after his triumphs with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.

He could get the chance to do it at the end of May at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, the home ground of Benfica, the club where he was briefly in charge at the start of his coaching career before reaching the heights of the European game.

As well as those Champions League successes, Mourinho has also lifted the old UEFA Cup with Porto and domestic league titles in England, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

He has won all nine European competition quarterfinals he has been involved in - eight in the Champions League and one in the UEFA Cup.

- Reuters

(China Daily 04/10/2014 page23)