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Mourinho: Courtois Save the Difference in Blues' UCL Exit
Guardian, May 1st, 2014 12:47PM

TAGS:  chelsea, england, spain, uefa champions league


Jose Mourinho reflected that an “impossible” save from Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is ironically on loan from Chelsea, proved to be the turning point of the UEFA Champions League semifinal second-leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, as Diego Simeone’s men then marched down the field and drew a penalty from a corner, which was converted by top scorer Diego Costa. After that, the Portuguese admitted that his team was well-beaten, as Atletico scored another and ran away the 3-1 winner on the night, and over the two-game series.

"The difference was one moment in the second half, where the Atlético goalkeeper makes an impossible save from John Terry's header, an amazing save, and instead of 2-1 to Chelsea a few minutes later [we concede] a penalty," said Mourinho. "After that, there was only one team on the pitch. My team played with pride, honor and professionalism, but we had immediately the feeling the game was lost.”

He added: "From that moment the game was controlled by Atlético in a very mature way. They had complete control. They had the feeling the game was in their hands, and after that they were very solid, very mature, a real team. I knew that before, and I congratulate them now."

When asked about the irony of Courtois being a Chelsea player, Mourinho said, "No, he's the Atlético goalkeeper, and he did his job." Maybe so, but the Guardian points out that the future of Courtois is still unresolved. Atlético is said to be keen to retain the Belgium international for a further 12 months, but Chelsea could also choose to bring him back to Stamford Bridge next season, instead.

Mourinho has now lost six out of eight UCL semifinals; he has lost three in a row as manager of Chelsea.

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