Chelsea had a poor opening night in the Champions League as they could only manage a draw against an injury hit Schalke. The Blues went ahead through Cesc Fabregas, but they spurned several chances before Klaas Jan Huntelaar grabbed a deserved equaliser for the visitors.
Chelsea pushed for a late winner, throwing on Diego Costa and Loic Remy in the second half. The Frenchman had a shot cleared off the line, but that was as close as Chelsea got to finding a second.
Didier Drogba made his first start for Chelsea since the 2012 Champions League final, as Chelsea fans arrived in an expectant mood. Mourinho made a couple of other changes, bringing Filipe Luis and Willian into the team. They looked strong enough to beat a Schalke side who had just three players at 100% fitness according to their manager.
Chelsea started off well, with Eden Hazard looking as sharp as he has all season. It was his pass that found Fabregas for the opening goal, which looked to be the first of many at the time. Chelsea kept pushing forward and should have had a second when Branislav Ivanovic cut the ball back across the box to Fabregas, but the Spaniard blazed the ball over the bar.
Despite not being at 100%, Schalke got stronger as the game went on, having a couple of decent chances in the first half. They were the far better side after the break, as Drogba missed a good chance at one end, before Schalke countered and found an equaliser. Fabregas lost possession, although it looked like he may have been fouled, and Huntelaar played a one two with Draxler before hitting a shot through Gary Cahill’s legs and in to the net.
Chelsea struggled to keep possession and put moves together after that, which lead to Mourinho throwing on Remy and the half-fit Costa. Neither managed to do anything to turn the tide, and in the end the Blues had to settle for a point.
After the game, Mourinho rued the missed chances from his side, and he explained why Costa started the game on the bench. “Yes I think we did enough to win we had chances to score 2-0 before the 1-1 and after 1-1 we had more than a couple of fantastic chances to win the game but we couldn’t win,” he said. “But we have a point, we didn’t lose which is not the best result but it is a result – it is a point.”
“He (Costa) is not in condition to play three matches in a week. In this moment he has problems when he plays one game he needs a week to recover and to be in conditions to start the next game and now matches Tuesdays, Wednesdays he can’t do it so today he was not in conditions to do more than what he did.”
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard