Jose Mourinho knows how to win things. He has demonstrated on many occasions that he is a tactical genius, and Tuesday night in Madrid, he presented another masterclass. "Win your home games." is a mantra to live by in European football, but Jose denied Athletico that chance. Comply with it themselves, and Chelsea are through to the final.
There are 3 games left in the domestic league for Chelsea, who sit five points behind the leaders Liverpool. Beat Liverpool on Sunday, and the result of the league is still not in Mourinho's hands. In fact, given recent form, it seems highly unlikely that Liverpool would lose one of their last two subsequent games, and even if they did, were Manchester City to win all of their games, Chelsea would still not be crowned champions.
Mourinho knows this. He understands probability and statistics, and the simple fact is, Chelsea have one game with home advantage to win, to get themselves to the pinnacle of the footballing world's cup competition. It is a trophy which eluded him in his last period at Stamford Bridge, and somewhere inside the man you get the feeling he wants to right what he himself sees as a failure. This is his chance, and the possibility of doing so at the expense of Real Madrid, (were they to beat Bayern in the other semi), would doubtless fill the Portuguese coach with ironic glee.
So the situation is simple. Chelsea have to cut their league losses, and go for the big one. While doing so, Mourinho can actually turn his statements about his Chelsea not being ready to win the league yet, into a self fulfilling prophecy, which will do his legendary ego no harm either. Liverpool would benefit, and Manchester City would lose the chance to have the league title destination in their own hands, assuming Liverpool beat a weakened Chelsea team. With City being Chelsea's closest fiscal rivals, again you can't help but suspect the Chelsea board room might take some form of pleasure in the Manchester side's only reward being the much maligned League Cup, while Chelsea fight for European domination.
So, to save themselves from the risk of injuries Chelsea must field a team of players against Liverpool which they are not concerned about losing anyone from in order to have their best players assured of fitness and ready for Athletico Madrid's visit on 30th April. It might leave something of a bitter taste to those who believe giving up on the league is conceding defeat, but in truth it's the only sensible/logical thing to do.
If it yields Chelsea their second European Cup, I suspect that bitter taste will soon be forgotten.