LONDON -- The silent treatment worked for Jose Mourinho after Andre Schuerrle's devastating 16-minute second half hat-trick gave Chelsea a 3-1 victory over struggling neighbors Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday.
After a lackluster opening period the Portuguese manager refused to speak to his players at halftime and they responded emphatically with a much improved performance.
Chelsea tore into the division's bottom side in the second half and they produced a relentless spell in which German forward Schuerrle was unforgiving in front of goal.
"It's something I expect from him," Mourinho said of Schuerrle after his three-goal haul doubled his goals tally for the Chelsea for the season.
"I think he is in a learning process in relation to the Premier League. It is difficult for him to play 90 minutes for us because he is doing things he's never done in his life.
"But what I expect from him is this cold blood when he is in front of the goal."
Chelsea struggled to find their rhythm in the first half and Mourinho admitted after the game that he chose not to speak to his players at the break for the first time in his managerial career.
"I didn't say a word at halftime," he explained after seeing his side move four points clear at the top of the table.
"I decided not to speak because if I decided to speak about the first half I'd need more than the 10 minutes. I haven't had many first halves like this one.
"I think this was what you call a game of two halves. The first half was poor, the second was brilliant."
Mourinho had spoken kindly of Chelsea's hosts ahead of the West London derby, saying he had hoped that they managed to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
And it's no wonder, with Fulham only winning one of their 13 home games against Chelsea since returning to the top flight in 2001, Craven Cottage must feel like a second home for Mourinho's men.
Fulham, rooted to the bottom on 21 points, have now failed to win in their last eight league games and new head coach Felix Magath revealed he was frustrated with the result.
"I was satisfied with the first half," Magath told reporters after his first home game in charge.
"Most of the first half we had control over the game, we didn't give Chelsea many chances and we had two or three good chances.
"At half time the players forgot to defend and for us it was a very big problem."
However he rued the loss of their captain Brede Hangeland who went off after only 16 minutes after clashing heads with his team mate Kieran Richardson.
"He was gone after a few minutes," said Magath.
"If he could have played the whole game, we could have had a different result."
Fulham travel to fellow strugglers Cardiff City next Saturday knowing that only a win will do as they begin to run out of matches in their battle to preserve their status, while Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur in another London derby on the same day.
(Reporting by Michael Hann, editing by Sam Holden)