Jose Mourinho was left rueing missed opportunities as Chelsea’s Champions League Group G campaign started nervously with a 1-1 draw against Schalke at Stamford Bridge.
Cesc Fabregas opened his Chelsea account in the 11th minute when he swept home from close range after Eden Hazard’s clever reverse pass.
But Schalke equalised in the second half when the impressive Julian Draxler’s pass found Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who fired past Thibaut Courtois.
Fabregas, Didier Drogba and substitute Loic Rémy all went close, with the Ivorian spurning two good chances on his Champions League return for the Blues.
Mourinho, reflecting on his team’s misses, said: “We did enough to win, I think we had great chances to score the second goal.
“2-0 and the game is over and we are speaking now about three or four, but we didn’t and that’s football.”
Drogba endured a difficult night, failing to connect with a Willian cross with the Schalke goal gaping, then screwing one effort wide of Ralf Fährmann’s post.
Asked whether Drogba needed more game time, the Chelsea manager said: “Of course. He did his job, he had a good contribution.
“He has a lot of experience – he is not now crying because of that miss. He is confident and we all are confident.”
The Portuguese defended his decision to leave Diego Costa on the bench for 74 minutes, suggesting the striker’s fitness was a concern.
“He is not in a condition to play three matches in a week. When he plays one game he needs a week to recover,” said Mourinho.
“He went to the national team and he came back to us injured. Now we have to resolve the problem the best we can.”
The Chelsea manager insisted his decision to rest Costa was not solely influenced by Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City.
“It was not simply about Sunday, simply he was not in the best condition to play.”
Picture courtesy of In Mou We Trust, with thanks