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Keep calm and watch Mourinho make men out of his 'kids'

Alex Livesey

It's hard to claim that Chelsea do not have an embarrasment of riches as far as attacking talent goes.  Having spent upwards of £75m - £100m if you include Willian, too - in two years, it's no wonder that fans and observers alike are expecting scintillating, entertaining greatness every time.

To say that we got none of that on Monday at Old Trafford would be an understatement.  A pragmatic performance - perhaps even cynical, depending on your ingrained biases - not unlike many witnessed during Mourinho's first go-around at the club, saw Chelsea play for and successfully battle to a draw.  Disappointing, sure, yet at the same time, in the grand scheme of things, holding the defending champions who ran away with the league last season to just a point at their home is a very good result.

It is also all part of Mourinho's master plan, the plan to make Chelsea's swashbuckling virtuosos into the best that they can be.

"I played here with four kids under 22 in attack, for some of them the first time at Old Trafford. They played against the champions, against Ferdinand, against Vidic, against Evra. My kids behaved very well. They couldn't produce enough to win the game, we didn't have as many situations as we expected to, we missed some easy passes but the boys were fantastic. The kids were fantastic. The whole generation was brilliant. It's a very good quality for my team."

"My team needs this because it is a team with a lot of talent but at the same time they need to know how to play in difficult circumstances.They know how to think tactically, how to think in a result if the result you want is not possible. For me it was fantastic. Andre Schurrle playing aginst (sic) Evra, Oscar playing in different positions. For me it was fantastic"

"It's not a victory, only one point, and not the best match but when you try to educate these kids and make them competitive men, playing in a team that wants to win the title, you need to play the match where you play amazing football but you need also to play the match where you thought tactically for 90 minutes, so I praise my people. They had a good start to the season, two victories at home and one point at the champions' home."

-José Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

Now perhaps it's a bit hypocritical - after all, Mourinho himself picked this lineup - but all four starters in attack were indeed very, very young.  And if José had gone with Romelu Lukaku, it would've been an even younger group.

Before injuries derailed his career, a 24-year-old Joe Cole was moulded into one of England's best by the master motivator.  So when the elder statesman of the current group is the 25-year-old Juan Mata, surely there's plenty to still learn for everybody.

Fernando Torres jokes aside, the last time Chelsea played without a recognized striker was in Roberto Di Matteo's last match in charge and we all know how that ended.  Mourinho tried a similar gambit today and thanks to much better defensive organization and far fewer individual defensive mistakes, successfully ground out a result.  Not one to wax poetically about in the annals of history to be sure, but an important result nonetheless and one that should set the foundation for a realistic title challenge now and in the future.

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