(Reuters) - Critics of Chelsea’s defensive approach in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Liverpool are simply jealous, forward Andre Schuerrle says, and the team will have no problem employing the same tactics if it brings further success.
Chelsea moved to within two points of Liverpool following the Anfield victory, but manager Jose Mourinho has come under fire since for his defensive tactics, with opposite Brendan Rodgers accusing him of “parking two buses”.
The Blues took a similarly defensive approach to the first leg of the their Champions League semi-final away at Atletico Madrid last week, which ended goalless.
German Schuerrle, who joined the west London club from Bayer Leverkusen in June, said critics of their approach were envious of its success and it did not matter how they played provided they won.
“Winning is what matters,” the 23-year-old was quoted as saying in British media ahead of Wednesday’s return leg with Atletico at Stamford Bridge.
”It’s the most important thing.
”You can play perfect football, have lots of one-touch stuff, and you lose. But that’s not what you want – you want to win. There’s no point in playing well and losing. If our plan is to win playing this way, and we win, then it is perfect.
“If people look at us and say ‘Chelsea can’t play’, even when we win, it’s just because they’re jealous.”
Chelsea stifled Liverpool’s much-vaunted attacking threat, scoring towards the end of each half through Demba Ba and Willian.
”We knew Liverpool would be that sort of game. The first thing that needed to do was make sure we didn’t concede and we did that very well.
”We knew it would be a very passionate game and we stood up to that, did what we had to do defensively and scored the two goals.
”We felt it was brilliant, a perfect game. We did exactly what we needed to do and what we were told to do. We wanted to win but we knew we needed to play with a compact defence and that then we’d have a few little chances to score, which is exactly what happened.
“The way it went meant that we had so many chances to play on the counter-attack. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck to take those chances but we did in the end and it was a perfect result for us.”
The result appeared to favour 2011-12 champions Manchester City, who are third on 77 points, one behind Chelsea and three off Liverpool but with a match in hand and superior goal difference.
Despite that, and Mourinho’s continued assertion that Chelsea cannot win the title, Schuerrle insisted they could still win a league and European double.
“Everybody thinks we can win the league and the Champions League,” Schuerrle added.
“We know it will be tough but we have to believe and we do. Of course it will be hard for us from here. We have to do everything in our power to win the two games we’ve got left and hope Liverpool and Manchester City both give us something. But we’re still in it.”
Chelsea’s final two league matches are against relegation-threatened Norwich City and Cardiff City.
Reporting by Josh Reich