Football Expert & Columnist
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid: Graeme Souness expects more of the same tactics
It's not "genius", but Graeme Souness expects no change in Jose Mourinho's tactics against Atletico.
Last Updated: 29/04/14 8:54pm
In the late stages of leagues and cup competitions it's about winning or getting through the tie and he's as good as anyone at doing that, even if the style of football might not be everyone's cup of tea.
However, I laugh when I hear people talk about "tactical genius" because that's absolute tosh. I agree with Brendan Rodgers when he says that the tactics Mourinho has employed in the last two matches are the simplest way to play.
It's not hard to set up a back four that doesn't go anywhere and a midfield in front of them not going anywhere and look to catch your opponents on the break or from a set-piece - but where Mourinho deserves all the credit in the world is the fact that he has top, top players buying into that approach.
These are players who in another life at another club wouldn't be prepared to do that. You look at people like Eden Hazard, Willian, Andre Schurrle and even someone like Frank Lampard; they are happy to do a job for the cause and it's not about individual glory.
That's where Mourinho scores above lots of other managers. At the end of the season he might go and buy two strikers and they'll be a very different outfit next year, but right now this is how he sees it and he's getting it right. The fact all of those talented players buy into it is a great credit to him.
I don't think he set out to get a goalless draw in Madrid last week; he set out to get a clean sheet - and he achieved that. He will now know that the hardest part is in front of him.
It's very well doing that job away from home - and they defended in the same way at Liverpool on Sunday and also managed to nick a couple of goals - but the problems start when you have to step out and try to score.
The big question is will he be happy to play that way at Stamford Bridge? At Anfield, Chelsea had just 27% of the ball - and I would suggest that at this time in Liverpool's development, Atletico Madrid are a better team than they are.
So I'm really interested to see if Chelsea will decide to concede three-quarters of the pitch to the opposition once again. Will they ask Atletico to try and hurt them and then try to catch them on the break?
Mourinho will be encouraged by the results he's got in the last two games and I do think it will be more of the same. I don't see Chelsea changing and I think they will play as they did at Anfield and at the Vicente Calderon.
I expect to see a Chelsea team playing counter-attacking football and if he feels that's the best way of getting a result then there's nobody out there qualified to argue with him.
He won't have a game plan for extra-time. He will just have a plan for 90 minutes and will think that in that period they can do what they did at Anfield - spend long periods without the ball and score goals against Atletico either on the break or from a set-piece.
Remember, that in Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill and John Terry they have players who can really attack balls from free-kicks and corners - and I expect all of those three players to be involved (I think Terry will make it) with César Azpilicueta returning to left-back.
Demba Ba had a really good game at Liverpool, fighting Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel for the ball throughout and can do the tough stint at the front of that system. He was asked to spend a lot of time isolated, with none of his mates in and around him and that's not easy - so perhaps he will be considered again.
Atletico Madrid huffed and puffed last week, but it is very hard to play against 10 players that never venture far from their goal. You can put training sessions on when you set up a back four on the 18-yard line with two midfielders in front of them putting pressure on and you ask 10 players to try and score against them. It's very hard to break them down.
As much as people don't like watching it, Mourinho is doing the right thing for Chelsea because they are digging out results against the odds - but the hard part will be scoring and keeping a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
Atletico are similar to Chelsea in many ways because they can grind results out. They don't have the flair that Barcelona and Real Madrid have, but they are still sitting pretty in their league. They have some special players, but they are an all-round team working for the cause in a similar way to Chelsea.
I would not like to say which of those two teams will make it to the final in Lisbon.