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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 16:55 GMT
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle
Joe Cole and Damien Duff of Chelsea
Chelsea ended their two-game losing streak with an easy victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues took the lead a minute after the break when Joe Cole took advantage of a Titus Bramble error to slot the ball past goalkeeper Shay Given.

Another Bramble error handed Chelsea their second when Hernan Crespo jinked past the defender to sidefoot home.

Chelsea winger Damien Duff added gloss to the scoreline when he rifled in a deflected shot in stoppage time.

Many in football found it hard to believe, but Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was going into the Newcastle match under pressure - or so we were led to believe.

Two consecutive defeats had conjured rumours that chairman Roman Abramovich had called for an inquest into why Chelsea lost to Real Betis and Manchester United.

As a consequence, the Portuguese manager imposed a media black-out, preventing journalists grabbing any soundbites ahead of Saturday's encounter.

Coming out of the tunnel at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho looked a picture of calm - his mood perhaps boosted by the fact that both hotshots Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, were missing from the visitors' line-up.

Shearer, who was recovering from a hernia operation, was joined on the sidelines, somewhat surprisingly, by Owen, who was nursing a groin problem.

No doubt the expression 'lambs to the slaughter' had crept into Mourinho's mind, but apart from a calamitous backpass from Titus Bramble inside the first minute, Graeme Souness' Magpies kept Chelsea in check during the first-half.

Chelsea's Hernan Crespo
Crespo scored Chelsea's second

Had Hernan Crespo got to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Shay Given, then the Blues may not have been forced to huff and puff so much against a packed Newcastle midfield.

Moments later, the Magpies could have considered them slightly unlucky not to win a penalty, although Lee Bowyer appeared to fall over Terry's legs after the Chelsea defender nicked the ball.

But apart from those early flourishes the opening half was quiet, with Emre, Nolberto Solano and Scott Parker, who have lately provided guile and flair, intent on keeping Chelsea's pack quiet.

However, ask the thousands of Newcastle's fans what their team's handicap has been this year and for the past two seasons, and their answer will be, the defence.

The ever-nervous Bramble has rarely impressed during his time with Magpies and his errors for the first two goals would have enraged the travelling fans even more.

Twice he gave the ball away and twice Chelsea scored.

By now the Blues were playing the sort of football that would have made Abramovich tear up his 'inquest' notes and allowed Mourinho erase the thought of the unthinkable.

Cole, who was Chelsea's best player in the first-half, gave Given no chance with his pinpoint drive.

His verve and energy lifted his team-mates and must have impressed watching England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The unusually quiet Lampard, who equalled the record for consecutive Premier League appearances, tallying 159, then provided the killer pass moments later for Crespo, who jinked past the statuesque Bramble to fire home the second.

Duff, who like midfield partner Lampard had a quiet game, sparked into life in the last minute to fire in the third, partly aided by a deflection off the boot of Newcastle's Scott Parker.

The Magpies' best efforts came from the boot of 19-year-old French midfielder Charles N'Zogbia, but both of his fierce efforts were well saved by Petr Cech.

  • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:

    "Life is difficult when you lose. When you are used to winning so many times, life is not easy when you lose because you are not happy.

    "I still think we'll win the title on the last day of the season.

    "Pressure? Pressure is millions of parents around the world with no money to feed their children."

  • Newcastle boss Graeme Souness:

    "I haven't seen it on TV but it looked like a penalty.

    "But I don't talk about referees and you don't ask them anything, because you don't get any sense out of them.

    "There was not a lot between the two teams in the first half but within six minutes we were two goals down and that changed everything."

    Chelsea: Cech, Johnson (Gallas 60), Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Del Horno, Makelele (Essien 13), Lampard, Gudjohnsen, Duff, Joe Cole, Crespo (Wright-Phillips 79).
    Subs Not Used: Carlton Cole, Cudicini.

    Booked: Terry, Lampard.

    Goals: Joe Cole 47, Crespo 51, Duff 90.

    Newcastle: Given, Ramage, Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro, Solano (Chopra 70), Parker, Bowyer, Emre, N'Zogbia, Ameobi.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark, Brittain.

    Booked: Solano.

    Att: 42,268

    Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).

    Interview: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

    Interview: Newcastle assistant manager Alan Murray

    Interview: Newcastle's Scott Parker


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