Bringing on Hazard was vital – Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said the decision to replace Michael Essien with Eden Hazard early in the second half was the key to their 2-0 FA Cup win at Derby.

The Blues looked defensively solid throughout the game but with Essien, John Mikel Obi and Ramires all starting, they struggled to create many chances.

However, the introduction of Hazard changed the course of the match, with the Belgian’s trickery winning the free-kick that led to Mikel’s opener.

“I think they [Chelsea players] got the message that in the second half we needed an extra intensity and needed to put them in more difficult situations,” Mourinho said.

“I decided to change Essien for Eden and bring an extra attacking player, fresh with speed, one-against-one. I knew it would make it more difficult for them.

“I had Essien and Mikel but I felt we didn’t need two at that time. We needed to open the game and give a push in the intensity of the game. We scored and after that we had more chances to score goals with a lot of space.”

Mikel’s header from Willian’s free-kick put Chelsea in command and Oscar’s goal sealed a convincing victory for the Blues, who will be at home to Stoke in the fourth round.

Mourinho added:  “The game was difficult. In the first half we didn’t play bad, we played quite well but were still 0-0 at half-time. That is a big risk – if they score you are in trouble.

“The team played seriously, we won and it’s job done against a Championship team.”

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