Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu believes Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League win could have been bigger without Petr Cech.
Goals from Alex Teixeira and Fernandinho capped a strong display from the home side, and a consolation goal from Oscar two minutes from time made the score flattering for Chelsea than it should have been.
“The match panned out exactly as we would have hoped,” the Romanian coach told reporters.
“Perhaps, it was one of our best games in recent times. It proves we’re on the right track, we are still growing, our young players are maturing and gaining the necessary confidence.
“And I have to say that this Chelsea side are stronger than the one that won the Champions League last season.
“That makes our victory even more important. I believe we could’ve won by even more, but Petr Cech was really good in goal.
“I’m sure Chelsea will be much better in London. Today they defended a lot, while in England they have a huge advantage over everyone else, avoiding any defeats this season,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo must win their two remaining Champions League home games.
Shakhtar are three points ahead but Di Matteo feels his side can seal qualification at Stamford Bridge.
“We must win our two Champions League home games and I’m confident it will be a different game for Shakhtar (at Stamford Bridge). We’re strong at home as well,” Di Matteo said.
The Italian also rued his side’s sluggish start.
“The early goal helped Shakhtar massively and it unsettled us. We were getting better in second half but then got caught.”
Di Matteo also highlighted the quality of the opposition, with Shakhtar going into the game on a 27-match unbeaten run.
“I think we have to just look at this performance as a single one,” he told Sky Sports.
“They (Shakhtar) are a very strong team and they showed that again tonight. It’s a difficult group we are in and the Champions League is always very competitive.
“You look at the other result in our group and it shows just how competitive it is.”
Midfielder Frank Lampard reinjured his calf, which he first sustained against Norwich earlier in October.
“It’s the same calf that he has had for the last two-and-a-half weeks,” Di Matteo said.
“He was fine (before the match) but it went in the game.”