It may not have been the prettiest game we've ever had the pleasure of witnessing, but Chelsea's 2-1 League Cup away win at showery Shrewsbury accomplished most of the goals it set out to do. We survived the conditions, the short rest, and even gave meaningful, significant minutes to a few youngsters and many of our backups. After the game, Mourinho acknowledged all the players' efforts, reserving special praise for the four who got called upon for the second time in three days.
"I'm happy with our approach and the answer of our players. I obviously praise the opponent from League Two who gave us a match to the last minute. I wish them good things in their league."
"The message I want is the message Didier, Filipe, Oscar and Cahill gave: doing something that they shouldn't be allowed to do, but they did, which is play two football matches in 48 hours. They were fantastic. I had people like Petr Cech and Mikel, people with lots of years at the club, who would prefer to start the game at Old Trafford. They didn't and they came here today and gave a fantastic example. After that there are the young boys and they have to follow the spirit and the professionalism of the others."
"Today even if I lost I would have the same kind of words for my players - their respect for the competition, for the opponent, for Chelsea and the Chelsea fans was fantastic."
Which is all lovely and nice, but Jose's final words cast some of the individual performances in a not so promising light.
"If players that played 90 minutes two days ago were fantastic, I expect people that have not been playing a lot to raise their level and create problems for me. I love problems of choice, but it's easy to choose my team for Saturday."
That's not to say that the likes of Mohamed Salah and André Schürrle were bad necessarily -- though the latter especially has not shown many signs of turning his slumping form around -- but it does not sound like they've worked their way any closer to displacing one of the current preferred starting eleven.