Jose Mourinho made a winning return as Chelsea manager with a 2-0 success at home to promoted Hull City in the club’s opening Premier League game on Sunday.
Back at Stamford Bridge after spells at Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side prevail through early goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard on a warm, sunny afternoon in west London.
The Europa League champions looked on course for a handsome win after scoring twice in the first 25 minutes, but they took their foot off the pedal thereafter, perhaps with a view to tomorrow’s visit of Aston Villa.
“There are no doubts it was a deserved victory,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Brilliant first half — high intensity, high quality, great movement, great football. It’s not a surprise that the second half couldn’t be the same as the first because the first was outstanding. Of course, I’m happy with the victory and I’m happy because what we did in the first half was great.”
On the reception he received from the Chelsea fans, he added: “It was fantastic.”
“It’s something you don’t forget, it’s something that makes me think I made the right move by coming back,” he said. “I’m one of them [the fans], so I’m so pleased and so happy with that.”
Mourinho picked Fernando Torres ahead of Romelu Lukaku up front, with captain John Terry selected at centerback and returning loanee Kevin de Bruyne preferred to Juan Mata in attacking midfield.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor was among five debutants for Hull and he was quickly involved, clumsily clattering Torres, but then plunging to his right to repel Lampard’s subsequent penalty in the sixth minute.
It was a temporary reprieve, though, as seven minutes later Oscar put Chelsea ahead by poking the ball beneath McGregor from De Bruyne’s pass.
Lampard got on the score sheet in the 25th minute with a dipping long-range free-kick that deceived McGregor, who had to save from Branislav Ivanovic in first-half stoppage-time.
That opportunity yielded the clearest demonstration of goal-line technology of the season’s opening weekend, with Hawk-Eye replays proving that McGregor had clawed Ivanovic’s header away before it crossed the line.
Hull manager Steve Bruce introduced Jake Livermore and on-loan Tom Huddlestone — both arriving from Tottenham Hotspur last week — in the second half, while Mourinho sent on new signing Andre Schuerrle.
Hull centerback Curtis Davies headed straight at Petr Cech and Schuerrle chipped narrowly over the bar, before Mourinho handed a league debut to another new recruit, Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel.
Earlier, new Tottenham Hotspur signing Roberto Soldado proved there is life without Gareth Bale by giving his side a 1-0 win at another promoted side, Crystal Palace.
Bale, strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid, was absent with a foot injury, but a 50th-minute penalty from ￡26 million (US$40.4 million) club record signing Soldado meant Spurs did not miss him.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas handed league debuts to Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli at Selhurst Park, while Etienne Capoue made his Spurs bow as a second-half substitute.
The decisive goal arrived five minutes into the second half, with Soldado adroitly sending goalkeeper Julian Speroni the wrong way from the spot after Dean Moxey blocked Aaron Lennon’s cross with a flailing hand.
“It’s very important to open with a win. [Crystal Palace manager] Ian Holloway really puts his team together very well. They were very narrow and there was some unpredictability,” Villas-Boas said. “We should have put the game to bed, but I’m generally very pleased to come to a difficult ground and get the three points.”
Holloway was aggrieved with the penalty decision, saying: “I don’t understand how it was a penalty, or how Dean Moxey could have got out of the way of it. I had three players right behind him.”
“It’s going to be a long hard season for me with these people [referees]. I had this with Blackpool. Certain clubs get fouls and others don’t,” he said. “I’ve got a horrible taste in my mouth after that.”