Sport | Football

Di Matteo admits Chelsea lucky break

Blues needed controversial Torres goal to secure win

  • AFP
  • Published: 14:21 August 23, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres (L) runs as he celebrates after scoring the third goal against Reading during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Reading at Stamford Bridge in London.

London: Roberto di Matteo admitted his Chelsea side remains a work in progress after they needed a controversial Fernando Torres goal to secure victory over newly-promoted Reading.

Di Matteo was once again impressed by the performance of Eden Hazard — signed this summer for £32 million (Dh186 million) from Lille.

And he believes the Belgian is already striking up an effective partnership with fellow playmaker Juan Mata after just two games of the new Premier League season.

Hazard provided two more assists in the 4-2 defeat of Reading to add to the two he provided at Wigan.

That has helped the Blues claim maximum points from their opening two games — but the way they allowed Reading back into the game highlighted the defensive work that still needs to be done as Di Matteo attempts to introduce Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin into his side.

The Chelsea manager said: “The balance was always going to be the key.

“It’s all great and everyone wants to see a lot of flair play, but to win games you need a good balance to it. That’s going to be the challenge.

“I would like to think we are defensively quite good. We had a clean sheet on the first day.

Tonight Reading did well to score, but we’ve scored six goals in two games. We’ll have to try and be solid. That’s how you win more games. We’ll certainly look at that.”

And he added: “There was some good football, a lot of rotation between our players, and we attacked in numbers, created several chances as well, and the players were enjoying themselves.

“Hazard had an impact in our team, but I think him and Juan Mata linked up very well. He’s finding his feet very quickly, so that is pleasing for us.”

Hazard won the penalty that allowed Frank Lampard to open the scoring but reading replied through Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie before Gary Cahill brought Chelsea back level.

Then Torres scored from an offside position nine minutes from time and Branislav Ivanovic made it four when Reading keeper Adam Federici went up for a late header.

Reading manager Brian McDermott said: “I’m gutted the linesman’s got that decision wrong on the third goal.

“He was offside and it was not a good night for him. It’s not been a good night for me, either. I just said to him he’d got it wrong.

“My gut feeling was that it was offside, and it was clearly offside.

“Unfortunately for him. He said he’d have a look at it. He can have a look at it. That’s life. People makes mistakes, and he’s made a mistake tonight.

“It’s just a shame it was for such a crucial goal because we would definitely have got a point. I’m really disappointed for the players.”

Di Matteo hinted he will speak to David Luiz who announced he was out with a knee injury on Twitter on the morning of the game.

The manager said: “We expect him to be available for Saturday. This social media is around now. We’ll deal with it internally, no problem.”

McDermott refused to blame Federici for his failure to keep out Cahill’s shot.

The Australian keeper also made an error in his side’s opening game against Stoke but the manager insists the player will come good.

“It has moved with that second goal,” McDermott said. “I’m not concerned about him at all. He’s got fantastic mentality.

“It’s like everything: once a result has happened, you have to box it off. You can’t affect that. You have to move on. Let’s be prepared for the next game and be ready. He’s not overwhelmed by the Premier League.

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