Mourinho hails rallying call by Chelsea masseur McCulloch

Tue Feb 4, 2014 8:33am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho hailed a pep talk given to the players by masseur Billy McCulloch after Chelsea wrecked Manchester City's 100 percent home record in the Premier League this season with a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Manager Mourinho was widely praised for his tactical masterplan after Branislav Ivanovic's first-half goal secured maximum points for his side on Monday night but the Portuguese was quick to salute the contribution of the masseur.

The wise-cracking McCulloch joined the club in 2001. He is popular with the players, providing a constant source of entertainment behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, and issued a rallying call before the game against City.

"I didn't speak. It was Billy the masseur," Mourinho told reporters after third-placed Chelsea joined City on 53 points, two behind leaders Arsenal.

"He was screaming ... so much I didn't understand him. The players were clapping - okay, let's go. It was Billy's team talk.

"The last time I spoke to the players was at midday," said Mourinho. "I'm serious, Billy was fantastic. I didn't understand but it looks like the players understood."

Chelsea ended City's run of scoring in 61 consecutive home league games since 2010 as Manuel Pellegrini's team failed to find the net at the Etihad for the first time this season.

The Londoners stifled midfield dangermen David Silva and Yaya Toure with their pressing approach and were also dynamic on the counter attack with Eden Hazard, Willian and Ramires leading the way.

HAZARD THREAT   Continued...

 
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho gestures during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London, January 19, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh