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Chelsea hero Ba hits out at Mourinho

ESPN staff
April 9, 2014 « Mourinho's mad dash sends Twitter into meltdown | Test Wayin World Cup »
Chelsea's late heroics

Chelsea hero Demba Ba has hit back at Jose Mourinho's criticism of his strikers by insisting "a lot of clubs would like to have us".

The bit-part player scored late to send his Chelsea through to the Champions League semi-finals against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night after coming off the bench - and told his manager his repeated public pronouncements this season have been way off the mark.

"I'm not out for revenge," said Ba, who took his tally to six goals in 23 appearances this season. "Maybe he [Mourinho] doesn't have strikers to his liking, but I know that we have three great strikers and I think that a lot of clubs would like to have them.

"I'm happy, I'm happy to have liberated us. I haven't been given my chance much this season and I've taken it."

Chelsea were 3-2 down on aggregate and a needed to score again after Andre Schurrle's first-half opener to secure the 2-0 second-leg victory that would see them through on away goals. Ba bundled the ball home with three minutes remaining in the last-eight second leg at Stamford Bridge to spark wild celebrations.

Remind you of anyone?

Demba Ba sent Chelsea through to the Champions League semi-finals © Getty Images
  • Fresh from saying he didn't have any "real strikers", Jose Mourinho has compared Chelsea's Champions League hero Demba Ba to Didier Drogba - but as a centre-back and not a forward.
  • "His [Ba's] contribution was massive in the game," Mourinho told Chelsea TV. "After [the goal] he was fantastic. Fantastic central defender.
  • "He reminded me a bit of Didier in the old times when we needed him [in defence] in the last minutes.
  • "And Nando [Fernando Torres] playing right back and chasing Maxwell all the way. Fantastic spirit."

It was a far cry from the drab performance Chelsea put on in Paris, where they lost 3-1 with midfielder Schurrle deployed up front in favour of Ba and Fernando Torres. Samuel Eto'o was absent through injury and Mourinho bemoaned his lack of a "real striker".

"It's the first time I've wished PSG to lose and it's me who scores the goal, luckily for Chelsea," added Ba, the only Parisian on the pitch when he came on.

"I'm happy for Chelsea but it's hard to see them lose, especially with one of my best friends, Yohan Cabaye, on the other side.

"Eden Hazard kept telling me all day, 'It's your time tonight, it's your time tonight.' I was a bit scared for the Parisians because after the third goal in Paris everyone thought PSG were in the semi-final.

"Even my younger brothers kept telling me this, and then when Eden went off the PSG fans already thought they were in the semi-finals. When Eden came off [with a first-half calf injury] we heard them singing 'We're in the semi-finals'."

With Eto'o starting up front for Chelsea, Mourinho sent on Ba for Frank Lampard just past the hour before Torres came on for Oscar with nine minutes remaining.

Mourinho, who responded to Ba's winner by sprinting down the touchline to give instructions to his celebrating players, said: "I'm happy for him [Ba]. A good guy, a good professional, a good group man. I'm very happy, very happy for him.

"The fact I played him before Nando [Torres] made him feel that he doesn't have the No.3 striker on his back.

"His enthusiasm was fantastic and he started giving Paris problems that, normally, they don't have in their league where it's a completely different style. I'm so happy he scored the goal because it means a lot for him and a lot for us."

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