Clearly Courtois, whose self-confidence on arrival at Stamford Bridge last summer bordered on arrogance, has heeded the warning and learned his lesson. Mourinho recalled him against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night and the Belgian produced his finest performance since his return after the loan to Atletico de Madrid.
The Belgian made five superb saves, each one better than the last and climaxing with his superb defiance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic deep into stoppage time to deny PSG an advantage with which to travel to London next month.
Instead Chelsea boast Branislav Ivanovic’s crucial, first-haf away goal in a 1-1 draw as they pursue a place in the quarter-finals for the seventh time in nine years. Personal history is on Chelsea’s side. Mourinho has never lost a Champions League tie after securing a score draw in the first leg away from home.
The Special One, who always weighs his words when praising an individual player, hailed both his goalkeepers in his summary after the match.
He said: “Courtois made important saves. If football was about having nine outfield players plus two goalkeepers, we would give no chance to anyone. We would be absolutely phenomenal because they are both phenomenal.”
John Terry had a simple explanation for Courtois’s return to form.
“Competition,” said Chelsea’s captain. “It keeps us all on our toes so we can all do the best we can for each other and for the team.”