Chelsea fragility a concern for Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo says Chelsea must tighten up defensively after seeing his side revitalise their Champions League title defence with a last-ditch 3-2 win at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
The hosts were seconds from an unhelpful draw that would have left them in third place in Group E, when substitute Victor Moses met Juan Mata’s injury-time corner with a header that found the top corner.
Di Matteo admitted that the manner of victory had carried “an element of luck,” and he castigated his players for twice letting the lead slip from their grasp.
“The fact we couldn’t hold on to the lead twice worked against us. We need to work on closing out games,” said the Italian, who has seen his team ship 14 goals in their last six games.
“You look at the goals. We’ve got a lot of players back, so it’s not like we were outnumbered, but we certainly need to work on the automatisms of our defensive organisation.”
In the absence of the injured Ashley Cole, Chelsea repeatedly found themselves exposed on their left flank, and with John Terry not match fit after his four-match domestic ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, Di Matteo conceded that his side lacked a bit of know-how.
“We didn’t have Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole wasn’t available and JT (John Terry) didn’t play,” he said.
“There’s a lot of Champions League experience that wasn’t on the pitch and under normal circumstances, you’d want them to be there.
“But I thought the players who did play did well under enormous pressure, and they de-served credit for that.”
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu admitted the defeat was difficult to take.
He said: 'It is painful.
“Our goalkeeper made some incredible mistakes, and we made a big mistake with the third goal, because we knew it would be difficult with the Chelsea players, because they are tall and powerful.
“The referee also committed a mistake, because he said there were three minutes and not three minutes 30 seconds. There should not have been a corner, it would have been finished.”