Eden Hazard clipped us in front after good work from Oscar and Willian, but our hosts leveled soon after the interval through Jonas Okore’s back-post header.
However another defender, our own Branislav Ivanovic, settled the match with a strike worthy of deciding any top-flight fixture, latching on to Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross and spectacularly volleying into the top corner. It certainly bore resemblances to his winner at Man City around this time last year.
Mourinho felt the winning goal epitomised the desire of his team to pick up three more league points…
‘Apart from the first 15 minutes of the second half we had good control of the game and we showed good ambition after it went to 1-1,’ the manager said. ‘Our second goal showed that.
‘The left-back was in the box to cross, and the right-back was in the box to finish. We pushed hard. It was a very important victory.
‘It was very difficult, and I knew it would be. I don’t analyse opponents by the number of points they have, or by the position they are in the table, or by the number of goals they score, I analyse opponents by the quality of their players, and Villa have one of the best squads.
‘They have very good players, a very good bench, and lots of solutions. It’s difficult to prepare a game against them because you don’t know the system they will play or the players they will use.
‘In the first half they tried to play on the counter attack with runners up front. Later in the game, they brought on Benteke to change the profile of the game. Later in the game they brought Sinclair and Joe Cole on to bring more creativity and more technique between the lines. It was very difficult.’
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