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Mourinho wasn't expecting brilliance from Chelsea against Aston Villa

This one's got a bit of a watershed moment feel to it.

Maybe that's overstating things, but not only is this our first win in four games, it's also one that was accomplished with a slightly different style than what we had attempted to play so far this season.  (Emphasis on attempted.)  In that way, it feels a bit like the "winning 1-0 is easy" moment from 2013-14 or that moment last January, when 5-0 wins and 5-3 losses and 4-2 losses were replaced by 1-0s and 2-1s and 1-1s as we set on our way to become the Boring, Boring, Champions of England.

"It was not a brilliant performance, but it was a solid performance."

"In football you are brilliant when the confidence levels are very high and the players are able to put all their qualities on the pitch. When the confidence is a bit low, the results are not good and they feel the pressure of the moment, the quality goes down a little bit, and you have to bring other kinds of ingredients to the game. They did it in an amazing way."

"Defensively [we had] great discipline and great effort, and there was great balance in the team. They had a couple of moments in the first half but apart from that everything was under control."

"That is what we need because at the moment it's difficult to be brilliant. I would never expect to come from a bad period direct into a brilliant game. I was expecting this kind of answer, the answer was there and the result is the most important thing at the moment."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

The most obvious manifestation of all this expectation of non-brilliance was leaving Eden Hazard on the bench.  While it's true that Hazard had been challenged tin the past to become more responsible on the defensive end of things, he was still more often than not given a free role.  His deficiencies in defense were outweighed by his contributions in attack, and he was also covered for by the likes of Willian and Oscar and a lopsided team shape.

The setup against Aston Villa was much more symmetrical, with Pedro and Willian bringing their best two-way game on either wing.  (It's perhaps this decision that also empowered Mourinho to give Baba Rahman a start.)  And while I don't think Pedro was all that great today, Mourinho praised both wide men.

"Playing with Pedro and Willian, the midfield players don't have to look to the left or the right. Willian and Pedro did amazing defensive work on very good offensive players, Hutton and Richardson, and later Amavi. They allowed the midfield players to be very comfortable, and to have performances like Ramires and Fabregas had, totally controlling the centre of the pitch."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

So, hard work and graft instead of individual brilliance and spontaneity.  We only have to look to our two goals — turnover from pressure high up the pitch for the first; great tackle by Ramires to start the move for the second — to see the strategy pay off.  It was the first match all season that we did not "win" the possession metric.  How very Mourinho-esque of us.

But what about going forward?  Is this the new normal?  Or is this just a partial solution to a much bigger problem?

"I don't know, but I know today we were able to find these ingredients that we need especially when we are not playing at a top level. When you are not playing at a top level, and on top of that you have no concentration, you make defensive mistakes, you don't defend well, you lose the ball and you don't have 10 players fighting to recover it as soon as possible, you cannot win."

"So let's try to keep this mentality, let's try to keep this tactical attitude, and at the same time, with a little bit more happiness and confidence, go in the direction of what we are."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

With three straight away matches coming up, none of them particularly easy or inviting, and then a home date with Klopp's Liverpool, chances are we're going to keep things simple, solid, and straightforward.

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