Jose Mourinho conceded that the better team won on Tuesday night as FC Basel beat Chelsea 1-0 at St. Jakob Park to complete a UEFA Champions League double over the Blues this season. The win left Basel in control of its Group E destiny, as the Swiss Super League champion climbed to second place following Schalke’s 0-0 draw at Steaua Bucharest, a result that also sent first-place Chelsea through to the UCL second round.
“A bad performance, a deserved defeat – but because of other results we qualify mathematically for the last 16. Now we have to get a result at home to finish first, so that is the only positive thing,” Mourinho said in his post-game press conference. “I didn't like it from the first minute. We started with a defensive mistake immediately, the first time we were in the game we made a defensive mistake; I think we only had a little bit of stability and control in the second half but I felt the team was tired. The team paid the price for their international 15 days, he added. “The team was not fresh and maybe I should have made more changes.”
For Basel, Mohamed Salah’s 87th minute goal was enough to secure the three points. “Congratulations to my team. It was noticeable right from the start that they desperately wanted to win this match. It was fantastic. We fought for everything on the field,” coach Murat Yakin said. “It obviously helped us that Chelsea wanted to play football themselves and not just sit deep. This allowed us to find gaps.” The former Swiss international also highlighted the “historic” achievement of defeating Chelsea twice in one season, as Basel also beat the 2012 European champion, 2-1, at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 1.