Chelsea's Courtois lives up to expectations in Paris
18 February 2015, 08:22
Paris - Jose Mourinho conceded his Chelsea side 'got away with it' in a 1-1 draw at Paris St Germain in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday and had one man to thank for a flattering result -- Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgium keeper made several brilliant saves, including one to deny PSG's Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in added time at the Parc des Princes, to keep his team afloat ahead of the March 11 return leg at Stamford Bridge.
"The 1-1 reflects one half for Chelsea, one half for Paris but on chances created and goalkeepers' performances we have to be honest and say they (PSG) were closer to winning the game," Mourinho told a news conference.
Courtois, who has forced Petr Cech onto the bench at Chelsea since he returned from a lengthy loan spell at Atletico Madrid, also denied Blaise Matuidi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic early on.
Asked if the west London club 'got away with it' on Tuesday, Mourinho told ITV: "When you see the performance of our goalkeeper you have to say yes. Our keeper made two or three important saves in the game.
PSG midfielder David Luiz added: "I think that without their keeper, we could have won this game, easy", while the club's coach Laurent Blanc said, "We fell on a great keeper, let's not forget it. He's very quick on his feet despite his big size."
Choosing a goalkeeper is definitely not a worry for Mourinho who has two world class stoppers to call on.
"If football was nine outfield players plus two goalkeepers we would give no chance to anyone, we would be phenomenal. They're phenomenal, both," the Portuguese said.
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Chelsea's Serbia defender Branislav Ivanovic, whose first-half opener was cancelled out by another header from Edinson Cavani, also lauded the club's keepers.
"Amazing saves (by Courtois). At the moment we don't know which of our keepers (is best) -- they are both magic. It's a great feeling to have someone behind you who is making real special saves in the game."
Despite the away draw Mourinho is not taking anything for granted, while Blanc is optimistic of reaching the last eight
"They're a fantastic team with fantastic players. When you look at their attacking players, (Ezequiel) Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic, Cavani... they're fantastic,". said Mourinho.
His poosite number Blanc remained upbeat, saying: "We know we can score in any stadium in Europe."