Football

Schuerrle: Critics are just jealous

Critics of Chelsea's defensive approach in Sunday's 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Liverpool are simply jealous, forward Andre Schuerrle says

And he stressed the team will have no problem employing the same tactics if it brings further success.

Chelsea moved to within two points of Liverpool following the Anfield victory, but manager Jose Mourinho has come under fire since for his defensive tactics, with opposite Brendan Rodgers accusing him of "parking two buses".

The Blues took a similarly defensive approach to the first leg of the their Champions League semi-final away match at Atletico Madrid last week, which ended goalless.

German Schuerrle, who joined the west London club from Bayer Leverkusen last June, said critics of their approach were envious of their success and it did not matter how they played provided they won.

"Winning is what matters," the 23-year-old was quoted as saying in British media ahead of tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) return leg with Atletico at Stamford Bridge.

"It's the most important thing. You can play perfect football, have lots of one-touch stuff, and you lose. But that's not what you want - you want to win.

"There's no point in playing well and losing. If our plan is to win playing this way, and we win, then it is perfect.

"If people look at us and say 'Chelsea can't play', even when we win, it's just because they're jealous."

Chelsea stifled Liverpool's much-vaunted attacking threat, scoring towards the end of each half through Demba Ba and Willian.

"We knew Liverpool would be that sort of game. The first thing that needed to do was make sure we didn't concede and we did that very well.

"We felt it was brilliant, a perfect game. We did exactly what we needed to do and what we were told to do. We wanted to win but we knew we needed to play with a compact defence and that then we'd have a few little chances to score, which is exactly what happened."

With an away goal a crucial factor, Atletico coach Diego Simeone should expect Chelsea to adopt the same tactics tomorrow.

SAME PLAN?

Simeone will need a different game plan if his club are to reach the final for the first time since 1974.

They enjoyed 64 per cent of the ball last week but leading striker Diego Costa barely got a sniff of a chance as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out.

While the onus is on Chelsea to score a goal this time, Mourinho is unlikely to become all gung-ho even if the creative talents of Eden Hazard and the scoring prowess of Samuel Eto'o are at his disposal after they missed the first leg because of injuries.

The return to training yesterday of Petr Cech and John Terry furthered boosted Chelsea's hopes of containing Atletico.

- Reuters.


BY THE NUMBERS

1

Atletico's only victory in nine European ties on English soil came at Leicester City in 1997, although they are unbeaten in this year's Champions League campaign.

6

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 clashes with Spanish sides in the Champions League, winning six and drawing 10 since losing to Barcelona in February 2006.

Champions League