• Champions League

Mourinho forgives 'game-killer' Courtois

ESPN staff
May 1, 2014
Mourinho hails Courtois

Jose Mourinho blamed Chelsea's Champions League exit on the exploits of one of his club's on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois but insisted he had no complaints about his heroics.

The Belgian is at Atletico Madrid for the season and made what the Portuguese manager claimed was an "impossible save" from John Terry when the scores were level, turning the semi-final second leg between the two sides in the Spanish club's favour on Wednesday night.

Atletico went on to win 3-1 and will face neighbours Real Madrid in the final in Lisbon but Stamford Bridge officials had tried to prevent Courtois from facing Mourinho's team by inserting a clause in his loan contract.

The agreement required a £2.5 million per game fee to be paid to Chelsea if the goalkeeper faced his parent club but UEFA ruled such a clause broke its rules and declared it null and void.

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"I'm not particularly frustrated," Mourinho said. "He's the Atletico goalkeeper playing for Atletico, and he did his job."

Atletico took firm control of the match after the save from Courtois, who is reportedly lined up to return to Chelsea in the summer after his third season on loan if Petr Cech requires surgery on his injured shoulder.

Mourinho said: "The game until a certain minute was very equal, the first half more ours than them, but finished 1-1 which is a completely open result. In the second half a minute decides everything. The Atletico goalkeeper makes an impossible save to Terry's header. In the same minute is a penalty.

"In one minute, two actions decided the game. It killed the game. After that, there was only one team on the pitch.After that, there was only one team on the pitch. My team with pride, honour and professionalism, but after that moment the game was controlled by Atlético, very mature and professional in the way they controlled the game. Complete control.

"At 2-1 against Atletico is almost impossible. After that there was only one team with morale high, knowing that with half an hour to go they had the game and result under control. The last period of the game was really difficult for us.

"Congratulations to them because they're a very good side, and what they're doing also in the Spanish league is fantastic and I congratulate."

Mourinho's side were caught napping for Adrian's first-half equaliser, with Juanfran ghosting past Eden Hazard to cross for his team-mate to score, though the Chelsea boss refused to criticise his players.

"I believe so [the equaliser was a mistake], but I can't be critical with a group of players that from day one is trying everything with problems, injuries, suspensions, with players who cannot play in the Champions League too," added Mourinho.

"This group grew up together a lot and I'm proud of them, it's disappointing to lose a second leg semi-final at home, but I can't criticise because of a mistake.

"We did everything that was possible for us, if we scored the 2-1 we are again on top of the game. I think until the penalty they were not the best team, we had the game, we had more possession, we had more chances. We scored a great goal, we conceded a poor goal.

"We were trying and the players were giving everything, but the reality is that from that moment the game is lost. It was difficult for the players.

"I hope it's a good final, both teams are there because they deserve to be there. Sometimes in the Champions League we see things happen that you don't understand why, but everything went normal. Real beat Bayern and deserved it, Atletico after the 60 minutes I think too.

"Next season we will be better, that is our objective. Next year the younger players are better, hopefully we can bring a couple of players to improve our team, and try to do better. But I'm happy with the way they did in the Champions League arriving until this moment. Today we didn't have happiness on our side."

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