Jose Mourinho must be a relieved man, a happy man.
Chelsea were all but expected to cruise to victory over Aston Villa, as less than a year ago the Blues thumped eight goals past them, with seven different scorers. Paul Lambert though, had other ideas.
After Chelsea took the lead early on, with great work from Eden Hazard and an unfortunate rebounding own goal from Antonio Luna, most would have believed the steady march to a comfortable victory would continue.
However chances came and went as Chelsea passed with aplomb retaining a whopping 70 percent possession.
Villa, resolute in their team spirit, dug deep, soaking up waves of Chelsea pressure and as the minutes ticked by it was clear Villa would get their chance. On the stroke of half time who other than the Belgian goal machine, Christian Benteke, sunk the goal of the night past Petr Cech. Moving the ball quickly from his feet, he powered a curling shot past defender and keeper to give Villa hope.
The second half was more of the same, except the goal had given Aston Villa confidence and without two wonderful saves from Petr Cech, Villa would have been out of sight.
But it was Chelsea who made it 2-1, Frank Lampard swinging in a pinpoint cross for Branislav Ivanovic to smash a thumping header home.
It was a tough, intense and heated game of football and Mourinho quickly pointed out that this type of match was the reason he returned to England.
"In matches at the Bernebau, Real Madrid win every match and usually very comfortably.
"This is what I missed about the Premier League. This was hard," he said in a post match interview.
"Maybe they (Villa) deserved a point in the end, it wouldn't have been unfair," he continued.
"They have their style which is not my style. They have a special player in Benteke and they put long balls into him - he makes a lot of fouls as do their defenders so it's difficult to have a game of quality with them.
"But they are good on counter-attack. The moment they get the ball they are very dangerous and can score a lot of goals so we had a plan not to give them chance to counter.
"The long ball game, you can't control. The game becomes ugly, but we fought a lot. The players tried to adapt and gave their life to get the three points.
"Sometimes you have to win on effort rather than quality."
That was definitely what Chelsea had to do.
They will now travel to Manchester United for next Monday’s match and Mourinho’s hardest test, whilst sitting at the top of the Premier league.
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