Despite electing to hand starts to a number of his fringe players in the League Cup fourth-round tie, Mourinho decided against leaving out Gary Cahill, Filipe Luis, Oscar and Didier Drogba, all of whom played in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.
"I think I had on my four players that played on Sunday and they were an unbelievable example for others. They were absolutely brilliant," the Chelsea boss told Sky Sports.
"When you have Petr Cech and Jon Mikel Obi not playing regularly, they come here and give great example of professionalism.
"I wasn't expecting anything but a difficult match. The game was going to be difficult. I was ready for extra time."
Mourinho is looking to win the League Cup for a third time after lifting the trophy twice during his first spell in charge.