|Reaction: Improvement Needed
It was a disappointing night at the Donbass Arena as Chelsea succumbed to their first loss of the Champions League this season. An early goal followed by the sucker-punch early in the second half was enough for Shaktar, even though Oscar managed to pull one back for Chelsea towards the end of the match.
Di Matteo was all praise for our opponents but conceded that the early goal helped them. “Shakhtar are a very good side with a good track record at home against English teams in particular, but in general as well, and the early goal helped them. It is always difficult when that happens in an important game, and it unsettled us a little in the first half, we found it hard to get into our rhythm.”
He did mention that the second goal was a result of our own defensive lapses but that the 1st goal was a bit lucky. “They were a little bit lucky with the first goal with a ricochet on the edge of the box but the second goal we got caught in possession and they punished us on the break. We certainly have to do better in those situations as a team.”
On the prospect of qualifying for the knockout stages, he said, “We need to win our two home games remaining for sure and the consolation tonight is Juventus’s draw in Denmark which shows the Champions League is a very competitive competition.”
Aside from the fact that we dominated the possession for large parts of the game, not much else went right for us tonight. The first goal was a bit unlucky for us but the second goal was, as Robbie said, down to us. On the attack we created quite a few chances, but neither Torres nor anyone else was able to convert those chances. The defence in particular has been a problem area for the past few games. We have looked shaky against teams like Nordsjaelland and Norwich which isn’t a good sign. Even against Spurs, we looked vulnerable at the back. Our next 2 matches are against Manchester United and the defence needs to be sorted out. The attack is full of flair and creativity, but it needs to be backed up by a solid defence. If Luiz is not playing well, give Cahill a few more starts. Stability in one’s playing XI is good, but not at the cost of poor performances.