Jose Mourinho says he hopes Chelsea’s victory over Dynamo Kyiv will help kids who have been “bullied” due to the club’s poor form.
The adulation poured down from the stands on Mourinho, whose position appears perilous, and his Chelsea side eked out an unconvincing 2-1 win to ease the pressure a little.
Willian struck a decisive free-kick after Aleksandar Dragovic had cancelled out his own goal with a strike against the Blues.
Mourinho, who is in the worst period of two spells at Chelsea, compared the support favourably to his return in August 2013, when he was acclaimed by the partisan crowd.
“This is my moment, because it was amazing,” Mourinho said.
“The moment I came back to the club and we played the first match at home against Hull City, the way the stadium welcomed me was amazing, but not comparable with today.
“Today comes in a moment where the results are not good, it comes in a moment where you (the media) are asking for my end (sacking).
“The fans read newspapers, they watch TV, they listen to pundits’, commentators’ opinions, they read blogs and it’s quite unbelievable what they tried to say today.
“They tried to say, ‘we want you here’ and probably they also want to say to all of you ‘we want him, let him work’. It’s a fantastic feeling.
“I don’t have another way to thank them than by giving everything I have, which I have always, which I will do always.
“It’s the only way to thank them for this reaction.”
Mourinho’s side won for just a second time in six matches since he was subject of the first vote of confidence of Roman Abramovich’s 12-year ownership on October 5.
The second win leaves their Group G fate in their own hands ahead of a trip to Maccabi Tel-Aviv and home clash with Porto, Mourinho’s former club.
Mourinho’s popularity was never in doubt, with supporters showing unwavering faith, but results needed to turn and still do.
The 52-year-old Portuguese praised the supporters for sticking with Chelsea through the bad times, which come less than six months after winning the Premier League title.
Yet Saturday’s Premier League clash at Stoke could still be crucial for Mourinho’s future as the Blues have six defeats in 11 league games to sit 15th in the table.
“It’s an amazing feeling for the club to know that the fans are in the good moments and the bad moments,” Mourinho added.
“In the good moments you see the street full of people celebrating with the bus. That’s easy. It’s easy for kids to go to school with a Chelsea shirt when Chelsea win every match.
“It’s not easy for kids 10, 12 years old to go to school with a Chelsea shirt when Chelsea are losing matches. Probably they are bullied by other kids.”
As often is the case with Chelsea and Mourinho, it was not straightforward and there was a moment of controversy when Diego Costa was denied a penalty.
Mourinho, who has had numerous run-ins with officials this season and is subject of a stadium ban at Stoke, did not address the issue post-match, preferring to focus on the positives after an Asmir Begovic error had allowed Dynamo to equalise.
Mourinho had told his team “when the difficult moment arrives, face the difficult moment, don’t collapse, don’t be affected, keep the belief” – and they did.
“To qualify we didn’t need a win. So it was not a drama, the 1-1,” Mourinho added.
“By the mental point of view it was important, a reaction to a negative moment.
“Today that was perfect because we conceded a goal with 15 minutes to go and the team emerged.”
On Willian netting the winner, he said: “Him more than anyone deserved that goal.”
Dynamo Kiev head coach Sergei Rebrov admits his side’s prospects of advancing do not appear great.
“The situation is not very good for us,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to have a draw today.
“Everyone is gutted and we think we had initiative but didn’t really push through it. You have to admit Chelsea were good today.”