London: Demba Ba was Chelsea’s unlikely hero for the second time in six days as the striker kept his team in the Premier League title hunt.
Having rescued Chelsea’s Champions League hopes against Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the week, Ba netted just his fourth Premier League goal of the season to see off 10-man Swansea City.
The victory meant Chelsea remain two points behind leaders Liverpool with a trip to Anfield to come on April 27.
Mourinho rewarded Ba and Andre Schurrle for their goalscoring performances from the substitutes’ bench against PSG with starts at the Liberty Stadium.
It was Schurrle who was at the centre of the controversial incident that saw Chico Flores sent-off in only the 16th minute after collecting two quick yellow cards.
Two minutes after being booked for a cynical challenge on Willian, Flores upended Schurrle on the left edge of the Swansea penalty area. Referee Phil Dowd seemed to take an age before finally showing the defender a second yellow card and dismissing him.
The decision appeared to be the correct one, but Swansea were furious with the protests of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to fourth official Robert Madley and the complaints of captain John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta to Dowd.
Dowd clearly took advice in his earpiece from Madley before issuing Flores with his second yellow card.
Chelsea should already have been a goal up before Swansea were reduced to 10 men, Mohammed Salah missed a wonderful sixth-minute opportunity.
Branislav Ivanovic picked Salah out with a precise low cross from the right, but the forward somehow side-footed the ball wide from four yards.
Swansea had also gone close before losing Flores, when Wilfried Bony forced Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech into a good save with a flicked header from Angel Rangel’s centre.
Despite having the extra man, Chelsea struggled to break down the relegation-threatened Swansea for the remainder of the first half. Willian and Salah fired wastefully over the crossbar.
With his side desperately needing a goal and a victory, Mourinho made two changes at the break – sending on Oscar and Samuel Eto’ in place of Ramires and Schurrle, who had been booked at the end of the first period.