Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has reflected on the club’s historic achievements in the Champions League over the past decade, ahead of the Blues’ second leg semi-final clash against Atletico Madrid at the Stamford Bridge on wednesday night.
In an exclusive interview with Adidas GamedayPlus, Mourinho says that the Blues having now won the prestigious Champions League trophy, after so many near misses in the past, it seems like justice has been done to this particular group of Chelsea players.
”I think Chelsea winning the Champions League was like bringing justice to a team that was a very strong team in the Champions League for about a decade,” said Mourinho.
In 2003/04, under Claudio Ranieri, Chelsea reached the semi-finals of UCL for the first time in the Roman Abramovich era.
The Portuguese reflected: “Chelsea had everything in the Champions League, the first one to arrive into a semi-final was before my arrival with Claudio Ranieri and Chelsea lost the semi-final against Monaco.”
Chelsea won their first league title in 50 years under Jose Mourinho, who was appointed as replacement of Ranieri, the following season. However, despite the domestic success, they suffered heart-break in Europe, after losing out to Liverpool.
After a stalemate draw in the first leg, Liverpool sealed the tie through a controversial goal from Luis Garcia, which Mourinho describes as “we lost that semi final against Liverpool with a goal that was not a goal.”
The two teams met again in the semi-final in 2006/07, this time Londoners were knocked out on penalties.
After Mourinho left the club in 2007/08, the same season, Chelsea reached the finals of the Champions League where they lost to Manchester United on penalties.
“After my departure Chelsea goes to the final and loses on penalties – with one kick could be the winner and it was the loser.”
In 2008/09 season, Chelsea were knocked out of the semi-final stages again. A late goal from Andres Iniesta sealed the tie in favour of Barcelona, though, the match is highly remembered for several contentious decisions that went against Chelsea.
“After that Chelsea had the famous night of the match against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge – that stays in the history of football, in the history of the Champions League but for the wrong reasons.”
In 2011/12, Chelsea defied all expectations to win the Champions League under then interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, beating Bayern Munich on penalties at the Allianz Arena. Mourinho notes:
“And finally, after all of this, finally Chelsea won the Champions League so I think it was to bring justice to a group of players that were there fighting season after season and reaching semis and reaching finals and being stopped to do more and finally Chelsea did it also in a dramatic way also with extra time and penalties – all of these things. But finally Chelsea got what Chelsea was fighting for a long time.“
Check the video of the interview below