Chelsea finished their season with a deserved 2-1 win over relegated Cardiff City.
Mourinho made six changes to the side that drew with Norwich, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Tomas Kalas, John Obi Mikel, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres all coming in for Gary Cahill, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Willian, Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba.
Chelsea started brightly with plenty of possession in the Cardiff half, ironically with a lot more zip and desire than they showed last week against Norwich when there was still something to play for. Oscar had a convincing penalty shout turned down two minutes when Ben Turner wrestled him to the ground after the Brazilian showed nimble footwork to pass him.
Another early chance fell Chelsea’s way when Fernando Torres made the most of slack Cardiff defending to round goalkeeper David Marshall, but Steven Caulker got back to make the decisive touch to keep the scoresheet clean.
The game was briefly stopped as a deluge of blue balloons made their way onto the pitch, as the home fans protested against their owner Vincent Tan and his decision to change the Bluebirds home kit from their traditional blue to red, believed to be lucky in Tan’s native Malaysia.
Another long spell of Chelsea possession followed, but it was in fact the hosts who struck first. Some unthreatening passes in the middle of the park lead to an ambitious strike from Craig Bellamy, which was heading straight for Mark Schwarzer at the near post until a wicked deflection off Azpilicueta left the Australian stopper stranded as it sailed into the far corner.
Mohammed Salah spurned the chance for a quickfire equaliser, after some neat play with Hazard was spooned over the bar from a promising position.
The tempo had dropped and as such it was another fairly long wait for the next clear cut chance, which unsurprisingly fell Chelsea’s way. Oscar caught young Cardiff full-back Declan John cold but failed to poke the ball past David Marshall. Again, this was another case of all the pressure coming from Chelsea and nothing being made from it, a scene all too familiar over the past few weeks.
There was a good chance for the hosts to make it two not long before the break, with Jordon Mutch dancing his way through the defence, before teeing up Frazier Campbell who could only contrive to fire over the bar.
There was a further chance for Hazard, and another two for Salah to bring Chelsea level but neither could do so, and so Cardiff surprisingly went in at half-time ahead.
The second half failed to start like the first, the tempo was reduced and was played out much like the dead rubber it was meant to be between two sides with just pride to play for. Salah teed up Torres who couldn’t latch onto his ball – Torres then had another chance soon after, with an incisive pass from Branislav Ivanovic falling to the Spaniard’s feet, who turned and fired wide.
It was then Cardiff who stormed forward and perhaps should have grabbed a second. Bellamy found Declan John who could only strike straight at Schwarzer.
Chelsea’s best chance of the second half came around the hour mark – Nemanja Matic played a delightful ball with his trademark accuracy into Ashley Cole, who threaded through Hazard, who shot into the side netting.
Chelsea took off the ineffectual John Obi Mikel and brought on Andre Schurrle, whose introduction added a spark that was lacking during a flat second half. After a shot from Oscar straight at Marshall, it was indeed the German substitute who finally brought the travelling Blues level. A superb cross into the area was met by an equally superb run by Azpilicueta, who was denied by a sensational save from Marshall. Azpilicueta could only follow up onto the crossbar, and there was Schurrle to volley home his ninth goal of the campaign. Credit must go to David Marshall for the original save, which was a very late contender for save of the season – so much so, the Cardiff fans were on their feet applauding the Scottish international even after the German had scored.
One became two for Chelsea just 3 minutes later. Torres finally got his name on the scoresheet, after a cross by Azpilicueta caused havoc in the area, and some poor defending from Fabio da Silva left Torres onside who gratefully prodded home for 2-1 on what was widely tipped to be his last appearance for Chelsea.
There was one final chance for Andre Schurrle to add some gloss to the score with a curling effort saved well by Marshall in stoppage time, but it was not to be and Chelsea headed home with the 3 points. It was a case of what might have been for Mourinho and his men as a Premier League and Champions League double evaporated quickly, but there’s cause for optimism amongst Chelsea fans as a very interesting summer lies ahead as we look to rebuild for a title push next season.