Mourinho hails the Blues' 'special spirit'
CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho hailed his side's "special spirit", after a dramatic late goal by Demba Ba propelled them into the Champions League semi-finals at Paris Saint-Germain's (PSG's) expense.
Despite trimming PSG's 3-1 aggregate lead through Andre Schuerrle, Chelsea were heading out of the competition until Ba bundled the ball home in the 87th minute of Tuesday's quarter-final second leg at Stamford Bridge to send his team through on away goals. Chelsea won 2-0.
The London club's comeback carried echoes of their 2012 success over Napoli, when they overcame a 3-1 first-leg loss in the last 16 with a 4-1 win before going on to beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.
While Mourinho has often declared that his team are a work in progress - and described the victory over PSG as "nothing extraordinary" - he said the belief that his players had shown augured well for the last four.
"We're in the semi-finals and if the quarter-finals had eight fantastic teams, imagine the four that are going to reach the semi-finals," he said.
"Anything can happen. A big opponent is waiting for us in the semi-finals, but I think it doesn't matter who. They know that we are the team with special spirit, even if we are not at the maximum of our potential."
Asked if he would like to face former club Real Madrid in the last four, he replied: "It doesn't matter. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico (Madrid), Bayern Munich, Manchester (United), it doesn't matter."
Mourinho celebrated Ba's goal by gambolling down the touchline towards his players, but he said that his dash was purely motivated by a desire to impart some tactical instructions.
"It was not to celebrate. It was to tell the players how we have to play the last minutes," he said. "In that moment, they want to celebrate, to think the game is over, and they forget that they still have three plus three or four minutes (of stoppage time) to play."
The only black marks for Chelsea were a booking for Branislav Ivanovic that rules him out of the first leg of their semi-final, and a calf injury to Eden Hazard that Mourinho said could keep the Belgian out for two weeks.