An impressive second half performance, after suffering a fluttery start, led Chelsea to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United. Jose Mourinho’s men showed signs of clear complacency in the opening minutes of the match as Perez and Cabella gave the center back pairing of Zouma and Terry, a torrid time. Against the run of play, Oscar scored for Chelsea in the 43rd minute and provided the London side, breathing space. Diego Costa, merged forces with Oscar to score the second goal of Chelsea’s game as a delightful Oscar back pass was converted superbly into the left bottom corner in the 59th minute. Although, the Blues stamped their authority in the second half, the first, was very volatile and Newcastle United were clearly posing a hefty threat to Chelsea’s resolute defense. Chelsea’s assistant manager Steve Holland expressed that Jose Mourinho used stern words to express his disappointment with Chelsea’s failed first half performance and that motivated the team to perform superbly in the second.
“Jose was quite clear in what he wanted the team to do at half-time,” Holland told Sky Sports.
“We had to show more personality with and without the ball. But he wanted the team to be more compact, to press the ball higher up the pitch, to recover the ball more, to sustain more attacks and to improve throughout the side.”
“And I think he got that in the second half – it was a much-improved performance, mentally as much as anything else.
“We looked more like the Chelsea side people are used to seeing on a week-by-week basis.”
Holland, admitted that Newcastle United gave Chelsea a scare and gave credit to Newcastle’s caretaker manager for the performance.
“Some credit to Newcastle in the first half,” he said.
“John Carver and Steve Stone did a good job in setting them up today. They were good opposition – dangerous, and in the first half they had some moments where they caused us problems.
“But a much-improved performance in the second half and I think in the end we were good value for the 2-0 win.”
With Chelsea winning their bout and Manchester City dropping points in theirs, the former steer two points clear of the latter. However, Holland believes that the title race is far from over and insists that Chelsea will take one game at a time.
“It won’t define where we finish and who lifts the trophy at the end of the season – it’s too early,” he added.
“But, clearly, the games against the teams you’re competing with are important. Our only focus at the moment is the next game – I know it’s a cliché but it’s the only way to work.”