Date:Sunday April 15 2007
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho paid tribute to Blackburn Rovers after his side came through a great Semi Final to finally edge us out 2-1.
Rovers have come a long way since our first meeting with Mourinho's Chelsea side back in 2005, a match infamous for him giving us a tag of "bully boys" (we were VERY physical but we were fighting for our Premiership lives!) that has stuck since, but one that must surely disappear after the world saw something with a performance similar to that, that we see most weeks.
Michael Ballack's extra time winner eventually proved the difference and saw Mourinho's side advance to face Manchester United in the Final.
Mourinho acknowledges the part we played in the Semi Final and was full of praise, he told Sky Sports:
"It's a very special feeling. I think the game was amazing and is the kind of game where you finish the game and you win, and you are crazy with happiness.
"But a lot of thoughts go to the opponent, to Mark Hughes, to the Blackburn players and to the Blackburn crowd.
"They gave us a game. It was not a surprise to me, I have to say that, I was waiting for this, but the game was unbelievable.
"They fought like heroes, like we did, but in football normally the heroes are only the winners.
"We are enjoying the moment, but they are sad. I have good feelings for them. The game was amazing and they were a big part of the game."
It's easy for Mourinho to say such things after victory but I genuinely believe he meant what he said and would have been as full of praise even had we won. The self-proclaimed Special One isn't to everyone's liking but he is genuine and has in fairness to him he has heaped masses of praise upon us in recent times. His comments back in 2005 did hurt, but not as much as the fact that they have stuck even though they are now well wide of the mark, but if he can acknowledge how far we have come surely it is time for others to do so also…
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Date:Sunday April 15 2007
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