In stark contrast with last season, Chelsea's defensive record this season has been rather bad, with the Blues letting in 23 goals in 13 matches in the league so far. But with two clean sheets recorded in back-to-back games, something that otherwise wouldn't generate much fuss is now noteworthy.
"We started the season as a team that concedes more goals and now we lost in Stoke 1-0, we drew at Stoke in the Capital One Cup 1-1, we beat Norwich 1-0, Dynamo Kiev 2-1, so defensively as a team we had a significant improvement and also individually the defensive players had an improvement. The quality of our game improved a lot."
"When the players are top, you want always more, you are never satisfied. We are never happy with the way we are playing. Even when we are playing very well there are always things to improve. We put ourselves in the position where the result became more important than anything."
"In the Premier League the most important thing was to get better results. In the Champions League we have been always balanced, never an amazing position but never a position to scare us. Now the most important thing is to get results and with results the confidence is now coming. If you can develop better results, at the same time come better performances."
Compared to his man of the match performance against Norwich City, Eden Hazard didn't have a game up to his standards yesterday. The pitch in Israel didn't help his case though and to avoid going through more injury troubles, Mourinho chose to take Hazard off the pitch earlier instead of letting him complete the full 90 minutes:
"I had Pedro on the bench, and that is important. If I did not have Pedro on the bench then I don't think I could improve on Hazard's performance for the last 20 minutes of the match."
"But when I have Hazard with 90 minutes against Norwich on Saturday and 70 minutes against Maccabi on a pitch that doesn't help, and I have Pedro fresh and I see the Maccabi right-back in trouble, tired and with cramps, I decided to give a hard time to him and bring Pedro on. I made the change because I had Pedro."
-José Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC
With John Terry and Ramires due to miss our next game against Tottenham, we will certainly need all the help we can get. And given the previous record, perhaps we should expect another goalscoring show at White Hart Lane - hopefully with Chelsea coming out on top this time around.