Sunday, March 26, 2017

Di Matteo applauds Chelsea display

Roberto Di Matteo felt Chelsea were good value for their 4-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday, despite giving up a two-goal lead.

Visitors Chelsea were in control of the English Premier League match at Villa Park, thanks to strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Branislav Ivanovic.

They found themselves back level at 2-2 following quick-fire efforts from James Collins and Eric Lichaj.

But Ivanovic struck again to restore the lead, before Fernando Torres claimed his first league goal since September to secure the points.

“Apart from the five minutes where we conceded those two goals, we controlled the game very well,” Chelsea’s interim manager Di Matteo said.

“We had some good chances as well to score maybe one or two more goals, but we know that towards the end of the game we might feel a little bit (tired from) the game from midweek,” he added, referring to Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League quarter-final victory over Benfica on Tuesday.

“It’s happened and unfortunately we conceded those two goals but I think it was great spirit by the team to react because it could have gone the other way as well.

“We had some great chances in the first half – (Juan) Mata hit the post and some other chances.

“Villa Park has historically proven a very difficult ground for us – I think the last 12 games up here we’ve only won once – so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Villa manager Alex McLeish blamed his team’s set-piece defending for undoing the hard work of their fight-back.

“I don’t think we were second best,” he said.

“Chelsea had their moments and have world-class players, but we got in their faces.

“To get back to 2-2 was a brilliant effort, the desire we showed was fantastic.

“But we paid for not being able to defend at set pieces, which is frustrating.”

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