Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said he felt “like a kid” after claiming the first trophy of his second Stamford Bridge tenure with a League Cup final victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
A deflected John Terry strike and a Kyle Walker own goal gave Chelsea a 2-0 win at a rain-soaked Wembley on Sunday and earned Mourinho his third success in the competition after two triumphs during his first spell as the west London club’s manager.
It ended a 914-day wait for silverware for the 52-year-old Portuguese — the longest of his managerial career — and he expressed hope that it was a sign of things to come for his nascent Chelsea team.
“For me it’s very important to feel that I’m a kid,” said Mourinho, whose previous trophy had been the 2012 Spanish Super Cup he won with Real Madrid.
“Before the game I had the same feelings as my first final, I don’t know how many years ago. It’s important for me to feel the same happiness after the victory. It’s important for me to feel that I am a kid at 52 years old.
“I know I have a team to build, which is what we are doing, but I feed myself with titles. It’s difficult for me to live without winning things, even knowing that we are doing the work to be stable for many years.
“I need to feed myself with titles. It’s important for me, it’s important for the boys. For the club it’s one more cup.
“But it’s the first one of the new team. You have Petr Cech, John Terry, (Didier) Drogba, and after that everybody belongs to a new generation of players. So as a team, very, very important.”
One of Chelsea’s new generation to feature prominently at Wembley was 20-year-old French centre-back Kurt Zouma, pressed into action as an auxiliary holding midfielder in the absence of the suspended Nemanja Matic.
“It’s very difficult for a central defender to play there,” Mourinho said.
“Because central defenders, they don’t (usually) have pressure from behind. They are pressed in their faces, not pressed from behind.
“In that position, you’re surrounded by players. You have to think quick, you have to decide quick. It’s very, very difficult, but our new Marcel Desailly, he worked hard during the week and did a fantastic job for us.”
– Pochettino proud –
Mourinho’s first League Cup success, in 2005, proved the precursor to back-to-back league titles, but although Manchester City’s 2-1 loss at Liverpool earlier on Sunday left Chelsea five points clear in the Premier League with a game in hand, he said there was still a long way to go.
“We have lots of difficult matches to play,” he said. “Twelve matches to play, still difficult.”
Spurs had stunned Chelsea 5-3 when the sides last met at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day and they started positively, with Christian Eriksen hitting the bar from a free-kick and Harry Kane testing Cech with a low shot.
But Terry’s goal arrived with cruel timing just before half-time and after Walker had inadvertently deflected a shot from Diego Costa into his own net in the 56th minute, Tottenham’s fight faded.
However, Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino said he was proud of his team’s display and with 21-year-olds Kane and Eric Dier and 20-year-old Nabil Bentaleb among those getting their first taste of a major final, he urged his players to build on the experience.
“We respected our style, our philosophy,” said the Argentine, who joined Spurs after leaving Southampton at the end of last season.
“For us I think we need to take a lot of positive things. I think we are a very young squad. Today, 23 and a half years the average (age) on the pitch and for many players, the first final.
“I think we are in a good way. It’s sure that we will play a lot of finals in the next few years.”
This article was written by Tom Williams from Agence France Presse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.