Bangkok: English champions Chelsea kicked off their end-of-season tour with a 1-0 win over a Thai All-Stars team in a friendly on Saturday less than a week after their last Premier League match.
Chelsea started with some of their youngsters and took the lead with a calm finish by Dominic Solanke in the 13th minute before making wholesale changes at halftime with the likes of captain John Terry, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa coming on. “It was an impossible game. My players are tired, big season, long season,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told reporters.
The All-Stars were selected by Thailand coach Kietisuk `Zico` Senamuang who included several national team regulars plus some new faces.
“1-0 is not so bad, I`m satisfied with the result,” he said.
“We wanted to see how our players would do. We had our World Cup qualifying squad, the Olympic squad, and new Thai league players and we wanted to see if they could compete with players of this calibre.
“In the first half they (Chelsea) fielded their younger team, and the second team included their primary players,” Senamuang said.
“It could have been due to the heat and fatigue, which meant they were unable to score against us in the second half.”
Solanke, 17, was substituted at halftime but was brought back on in the 70th minute for Spain striker Costa, who is still suffering from fatigue after a long season.
“His condition is not good,” Mourinho said of Brazilian-born Costa, adding that he was asked to join the tour with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ramires, and Oscar unavailable due to injury.
The Thais’ best chance came in the 65th minute when Sarawut Masuk’s shot beat Chelsea goalkeeper Jamal Blackman but was kept out by the head of Andreas Christensen.
After visiting Thailand, Chelsea continue their pre-season tour in Australia and the United States.