But there were no signs of fatigue in their display: the pair successfully bullied Diego Costa out of the game and reduced Chelsea to managing just five shots on goal – none of which were on target.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to dish out praise to his defensive duo for the way they conducted themselves against Antonio Conte’s men.
“Bailly and Rojo deserves special mention for the way they played,” he said.
Fielding Bailly and Rojo against Chelsea – the league leaders and, unlike their opponents, fresh from a week of preparation for this game – could have been calamitous. The pair, prior to this clash, had both put in four 90 minute stints in under two weeks. They would need to dig deep and throw every iota of strength they had at Chelsea, you felt.
And they did, incessantly bullying Costa into relative anonymity and, aided by Ander Herrera‘s dominance of Eden Hazard from start to finish, maintaining an impenetrable defensive shape throughout on their way to an unlikely – but much needed – clean sheet.