Slavisa Jokanovic saluted Maccabi Tel Aviv for their improvement in the Champions League, despite losing to Chelsea 4-0.
Maccabi toiled courageously after former Chelsea centre-back Tal Ben Haim was sent off five minutes before half-time but the 10-man hosts were eventually overwhelmed on Tuesday.
Willian, Oscar and Kurt Zouma all scored with 17 minutes remaining at Sammy Ofer Stadium, after Gary Cahill’s 20th-minute opener as Maccabi remained winless and pointless through five matchdays in Group F.
Jokanovic, however, had no complaints with Maccabi, who caused Chelsea some moments of discomfort, despite their numerical disadvantage.
“This was a difficult match for us. We played with ten men for most of the game,” said the Serb, whose side also lost 4-0 in September’s reverse fixture in London.
“Did you watch our first match in this Champions League campaign? We have made a lot of progress in my opinion. But Chelsea are still a much better team.
“The Champions League was a huge experience for me and I expect us to play better next year. Maccabi have not been here for 11 years and we lack that experience but we can be proud of our players who showed character.”
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