Chelsea eased the pressure on manager José Mourinho after a hard-fought but crucial Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge. Here are three things we learnt:
1. Willian saves Mourinho more embarrassment
When it looked like Jose Mourinho’s misery is going to continue, the Brazilian scored a brilliant late goal and ensured both his coach as well as Begovic, who conceded a sloppy equalizer initially, were not left blushing.
While the whole team has been struggling, Willian has been in great form and he ensured he put it to good use against Dynamo Kiev. His set-piece form is also getting better and better and once again, he made sure he didn’t waste a crucial opportunity.
It’s hard to imagine what José Mourinho would be going through if Chelsea failed to win this tie at home. Even if he wouldn’t have been sacked immediately, there would surely have been a crazy amount of pressure on the Portuguese coach if the Blues had failed to win.
Willian, who has unarguably been the club’s player of the season so far, definitely prolonged his boss’s career at The Bridge.
2. Baba Rahman gets rare opportunity to impress…and he does.
21-year-old Baba Rahman was bought in the summer as a replacement for Filipe Luis, but the Ghanaian has found opportunities hard to come by. Making only his sixth appearance of the season, the left-back made 3 tackles and 2 interceptions and. He was not only assured coping with the lethal Andriy Yarmolenko, but also lively going forward. It was his pass to Willian from which the Brazilian crossed for the first goal.
The youngster has certainly made a case to be given more opportunities in the coming weeks. With José Mourinho’s men not performing to the best of their abilities, instilling fresh blood in the starting team might not be a bad idea. Having a new look back-line may be the first step towards old ways for José.
3. Mourinho has the supporters’ backing
Mourinho was treated with respect and admiration by the home support throughout the match. The supporters sang his name loudly before kick-off and the volume increased after Chelsea took the lead. In the short-termism of modern day football, fans get anxious for results and change too soon. It really is a testament to Mourinho’s brilliant career that he is still being treated as the player who could get the team back to winning ways and is the right man for the job.
However, the Portuguese would know that he still has to do a lot more to ensure the backing stays. While Chelsea did look much better and improved from their tepid performance against Liverpool, they were still not as convincing and if not for the excellent set-piece from Willian, would have had to be content with sharing the spoils.
Chelsea travel to Stoke City on the weekend before the start of the international break. Mourinho and his side need a result before dispersing for the break and would hope the win against Dynamo Kiev is a stepping stone for better things to come this season.