Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Di Matteo looks to bring balance to Chelsea's force

Chelsea's Fernando Torres (right) scores their third goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Fernando Torres of Chelsea celebrates scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Reading at Stamford Bridge on August 22, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates scoring the first goal from the penalty spot with Ramires of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Reading at Stamford Bridge on August 22, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The Chelsea manager, Roberto Di Matteo, admitted that his team needed to play with more balance after their end-to-end 4-2 defeat of Reading last night.

"The balance was always going to be the key," Di Matteo said afterwards. "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."

Chelsea started with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, and brought Oscar and Daniel Sturridge on as they chased an open game. "We will have to try and be solid," Di Matteo acknowledged. "That's how you win more games. We'll certainly look at that."

Hazard was Chelsea's best player again, winning the penalty for Frank Lampard's goal before setting up Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic in the second half.

"Hazard had an impact in our team, but I think him and Juan Mata linked up very well," Di Matteo said afterwards. "He's finding his feet very quickly, so that is pleasing for us. 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."

Brian McDermott, though, was disconsolate at the decision which allowed Fernando Torres to put Chelsea 3-2 ahead.

"I thought we were going to win it when we got to 70-odd minutes," the Reading manager said of the decision to rule Torres on-side with nine minutes left. "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.

"My gut feeling was that it was offside, and it was clearly offside. It's just a shame it was for such a crucial goal because we would definitely have got a point."

Chelsea's equaliser came when Gary Cahill's shot went through Adam Federici's arms. The Reading goalkeeper made a similar mistake in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Stoke but McDermott said he was unworried. "[The ball] has moved with that second goal," he said. "I'm not concerned about him at all. He's got a fantastic mentality."

Di Matteo added that Chelsea will deal "internally" with David Luiz's announcement yesterday afternoon on Twitter and Facebook that he would miss last night's match with a knee injury. He is expected to be fit for Chelsea's home game with Newcastle United on Saturday.

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