Monday, 12 November 2012

Di Matteo rues misses as Chelsea held by Liverpool

LONDON  – Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo was left to rue his side’s missed chances as well as a potentially serious knee injury to skipper John Terry after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo gestures during their Champions League Group E soccer match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge in London November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo gestures during their Champions League Group E soccer match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge in London November 7, 2012. 
Despite their win over Liverpool in last season’s FA Cup final, Liverpool have had a good recent record against the European champions and are now unbeaten in their last four matches at Stamford Bridge.
They maintained that run when Luis Suarez headed an equaliser 17 minutes from time to cancel out Terry’s 20th-minute opener. The result stretched Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the league to six matches and left Chelsea without a win in three games.
"We knew that the second goal was crucial to the game," Di Matteo told reporters. "We had opportunities, their goalkeeper made some great saves. We couldn’t push on.
"We are still playing well and we are still creating chances, but we have to be clinical to take our chances and finish the game off."
Chelsea slipped to third in the table and lost two points to leaders Manchester United and second-placed Manchester City who both won over the weekend.
United lead the table with 27 points from 11 games, City have 25 and Chelsea 24.
But Di Matteo was looking on the bright side, even though Chelsea lost 3-2 at home to Manchester United in their last home match and had two players, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, sent off.
"I think we are in much better shape than previous years," he said. "We are very close to our best as well.
"If we had won today it would have been great for us. But we are still in the mix. The United game was obviously a real blow because of the way it happened. Two players sent off and a goal that should have been disallowed."
He was also naturally concerned about Terry, who left the ground in a brace and on crutches after damaging his knee, 19 minutes after scoring Chelsea’s goal.
"We have to wait to tomorrow to understand the extent of the injury. It was great to see him lead the team out there we just have to hope it’s not a serious injury we have to see him back soon.
"He’s in pain now but we hope it’s not serious. He will go to hospital tomorrow to have a scan. It’s a real shame he had to come off. He was playing really well."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, back at the club where he worked under Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant and Luis Felipe Scolari, was pleased with his team’s performance.
"We were a wee bit tentative in the first half and we couldn’t quite press it as we like to. When we changed the formation we got more on to the front foot.
"There was great character from all the players. I know more than anyone how difficult it is to come here and get a result. So it’s great point for us.
"It’s a difficult place to come. They are fantastic players, European champions and it’s great club so I’m delighted for our young players.
"There’s great character and resilience and survival instincts in the squad but if we can get one or two in January that can turn those draws into wins that would be great."

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