Drogba and Jose Praise Opponents

When Chelsea visited Greenhous Meadow they would probably have thought that the grass would be very green. However, as it turned out, contrary to popular belief the hosts gave a hard time to the visiting Chelsea team. There was a time when the Shrewsbury supporters thought that they may witness an upset in case the game went into extra time. Though it didn’t come to that, it prompted Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and manager Jose Mourinho to heap praise on the valiant display showed by Shrewsbury. 

The Capital One Cup is a strange competition. It is harsh at times for the teams from lower divisions of English Football. West Bromwich Albion stand testimony to a contrary fact. They were beaten out of the competition by a very resource strained team in the Cup. The initial matches involving Premier League teams against teams from let’s say the fourth Tier: SkyBet League Two are somewhat destined to get a drubbing.

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Surprisingly, on a number of occasions throughout the competition these lowly teams manage to display what football represents in it’s purest form. It shows that its not all in the moolah. Sometimes, the Pounds and the Euros are not enough to guarantee superiority.

Football knows to speak for itself. However it can sometimes chose to vent its feelings through clubs like A.F.C. Bournemouth or in Chelsea’s case, Shrewsbury Town F.C.The town has a total population of 72000. The club plays in the fourth division and they are in the 4th spot of SkyBet League Two. It’s just another football club.
They are an above average team for the division. All in all, they are a low-key, good fourth tier football club with nothing special or astounding about them. That changed yesterday, with hardly any player that would garner a million pound transfer offer, they made the Blues’ sweat for the victory that takes them to the final eight of the Capital One Cup. That in itself is an achievement.

It’s not an easy task to go up against a team that is at least 80 positions above you in the League system of the country and still make them sweat and work hard for a victory that was supposed to be a stroll in the park. That, is special.

Manager Micky Mellon is the perfect person to follow if one wants to truly understand the real importance of this game and it’s outcome.

“I just said to the players there, if someone would have said that we would have felt gutted and disappointed at the end of a game against Chelsea, we probably would have taken that emotion because it meant we would have been pleased, but we’re gutted because we lost it on little bits of detail.”

“Losing a goal so early in the second half and then, when we had good possession of the ball on the far side, we fall and they catch us on the break and that’s why they’re where they are.”

Perhaps this was the end result that was destined to become. Nonetheless, the manner in which it was achieved, the fight and grit shown by the home players is worthy of respect. Didier Drogba might have won Chelsea the biggest trophy of club football, but he humbly recognised and acknowledged the quality and determination that Chelsea were faced with. Immediately after the final whistle he had this to say:

“Fantastic team, fantastic opponent,”

“I think they gave everything and I think they showed today why they deserve to be here tonight and they made a very difficult game for us really.”

The own goal may have been more a result of Chelsea’s efforts than their inability, it is still the one thing that denied Shresbury a chance to take the game into extra time. The Special One was also strained by how the game unfolded through the ninety minutes.

“Yes I was worried when they equalised,”

“Shrewsbury put up a great fight. They are what the cups are all about. I expect players to give me problems. I love problems. But a lot of them didn’t and they’ve made it easy to choose my team for Saturday.”

The much deserved respect is evident in Mourinho’s words. It was in fact a good thing that the game was not a dull, one-sided affair and instead was open till the end. This is what football is, where margins are so fine as a thread. This is how a team loses and yet the game wins. Shrewsbury can hold their head high. Chelsea on the other hand, have extended their adventure in the competition. Pride and glory are right around the corner; or a couple of corners. Long may this continue.


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