It was a smiling Jose Mourinho that met with the press on Wednesday after seeing his side beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 and take a big step towards qualifying for the CHampions League knock-out stages.
The Portuguese manager began his post-match press conference by asking journalists for a calculator so he could figure out what Chelsea would have to do to qualify for the last 16. After pausing and thinking about it, Mourinho said:
“I know if we win, we finish first. If we lose we are going to the Europa League and with a draw second place.”
The victory against an Israeli outfit that has lost every group game so far, means Chelsea are level on points with Porto and two ahead of Dynamo Kiev going into the last round of matches in two weeks. Chelsea host Porto while the Ukrainian outfit are at home to Maccabi. If Chelsea and Porto draw and Kiev win, all three will finish level on points.
That would leave Dynamo as the group winners, Chelsea in second and Porto heading to the Europa League. Having been under pressure recently after a string of poor league results left the English champions languishing down in 16th in the Premier League table. But the Portuguese manager, who has already won the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010, was buoyant.
“My future, I think there are no rumours. I want to stay in the club, the club wants me to stay. For us there are no rumours,” he said.
However, he was forced to deny there was a problem between him and Spanish international striker Diego Costa after the two were seen shouting at each other on the way into the changing rooms at half-time.
“I reacted, he did too. At half-time in the dressing room, a few kisses and a few cuddles. No problem,” said Mourinho.
The 52-year-old was less impressed with the pitch in Haifa, though, after his captain John Terry picked up an injury and had to be replaced with Kurt Zouma.
“Such a beautiful stadium, such a great public display, (but) the surface was bad and dangerous,” he said. “John Terry has an ankle problem, and yes, I think it is from the pitch.”
Gary Cahill gave Chelsea a first half lead before former Blues centre-back Tal Ben Haim was dismissed for the hosts just before the break after kicking out at Costa. Brazilians Willian, with a stunning free-kick, and Oscar added second half strikes in the final 17 minutes before Zouma scored in injury time.