Chelsea vs. Manchester United  5 - 4

Article

Di Matteo proud of Chelsea character

1 November 2012 06:16

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has backed his decision to play John Obi Mikel in Wednesday's League Cup clash with Manchester United.

Earlier in the day, the Blues had lodged an official complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg over inappropriate language allegedly used by the official after the two sides' Premier League meeting on Sunday.

Chelsea did not pursue claims that Juan Mata was also involved, with the Spaniard also featuring in the topsy-turvy Stamford Bridge clash.

"I spoke to my players in the last couple of days and made sure they were in the right frame of mind to play, so I had no concerns in picking the team I wanted to," Di Matteo said.

"First of all we had both midfield players booked in the first half and secondly I wanted to change a little bit the team tactically.

"He's (Mikel) fully focused on playing football. I wouldn't have played him if I had any doubt."

Chelsea looked to be heading for defeat until Eden Hazard struck in stoppage time, netting a penalty and taking the game beyond 90 minutes.

Further efforts from Daniel Sturridge and Ramires effectively killed off the tie before Chelsea sealed a 5-4 result.

And the manager was delighted with the spirit shown by his charges.

"They showed a big, big heart, passion and pride to not want to lose this game," he said.

"It was a very exciting game of football to watch, a typical cup game, quite open at times, and a lot of mistakes from both teams because there were a lot of young players involved in the game.

"I'm very pleased with the players that I picked tonight. They performed on a big stage like tonight and they're going to play an important role in our season.

"We are trying to change a little bit the way we play and at times you're going to make mistakes.

"But young players will learn from it and get better from it, and as a team we will get better as well in not making mistakes. But that's the way we want to go forward."

Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, pointed the finger of blame at Nani for his side's defeat.

The visitors took the lead three times and were 3-2 up with minutes of normal time remaining when Nani lost the ball, which ultimately led to Chelsea winning a penalty which Hazard converted to take the tie to extra-time.

"Well we gave the ball away for the third goal when we had complete control of the match at that point, playing really good football," he said.

"All we needed to do was see the game out and keep possession. Nani decided to try and beat a man and lost the ball, and then it was a penalty kick. I don't know if it was a penalty kick or not. I think at that point our young players started to feel it and it was very difficult in extra time.

"Nani is experienced, he's an individual, he's a player who wants to beat men and we are not going to discourage that but in that situation if he had kept the ball in the corner flag, the game's over."

Despite his disappointment, the United manager did have time to praise his players, particularly Ryan Giggs who scored twice for the visitors.

"I think some of our football was terrific. I think in Ryan Giggs you have a player of unbelievable proportions in terms of playing 120 minutes at 39 years of age, next month. It's a credit to himself, it's an example to everyone on that pitch including the Chelsea players," he said.

"It's disappointing, we had to gamble in terms of the young centre backs. It's not easy, you can always go with playing young forwards in games of this magnitude but playing young central defenders away from home, it's going to be a difficult night for them and so it proved.

"We had control of the game, they had a lot of attacks, but nothing really came of them and our counterattack was very good.

"But if you're winning 3-2 at the end of the game you really should see it out. We only have ourselves to blame really."

Article

League Cup wrap: Chelsea claim nine-goal thriller

1 November 2012 00:47

Chelsea have exacted revenge on Manchester United courtesy of a 5-4 extra-time win in the League Cup, having trailed on three occasions.

For the second time in four days Chelsea and Manchester United played out a thriller at Stamford Bridge, with the hosts gaining some revenge for their 3-2 Premier League defeat by booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

After the chaos of the weekend, it was perhaps little surprise that the first half was a frenetic affair, played at great pace, with goals, bookings, a penalty and the visitors from Manchester once again heading into the break 2-1 ahead.

Yet there was more than a hint of farce about United's opening goal with Petr Cech's short kick out to Romeu allowing Anderson to nick the ball off the Spaniard and find Ryan Giggs who finished clinically to open the scoring.

The goal sparked Chelsea into life, and by the half hour mark they were level.

The lively Victor Moses burst into the box only to be brought down by Alexander Buttner, giving the referee an easy decision to point to the spot and David Luiz made no mistake.

But Chelsea fell behind once again just minutes before the break with Anderson passing to Javier Hernandez and the Mexican finished smartly past Cech for his sixth goal in nine appearances against the Blues.

Just seven minutes into the second half, Mata's corner was thundered home by Gary Cahill to make the score 2-2.

Nani gave Manchester United the lead again in the 59th minute and Chelsea had to wait until the fourth minute of stoppage time and a penalty from Eden Hazard to equalise.

Chelsea struck twice in extra time through Daniel Sturridge and Ramires and although Giggs converted a 120th-minute penalty, the home team held on for victory.

In other League Cup results on Wednesday, Norwich struck twice in the last six minutes to defeat Tottenham 2-1, while Swansea gave former manager Brendan Rodgers a headache with a 3-1 win away to Liverpool.

Article

Di Matteo forced to make Chelsea changes

30 October 2012 19:31

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo will make changes for the Capital One Cup clash against Manchester United on Wednesday.

Ashley Cole will miss the game after injuring his ankle in Sunday's 3-2 defeat to the Red Devils, while Frank Lampard remains sidelined and Branislav Ivanovic, Fernando Torres and John Terry are all suspended.

"Ashley's ankle is sore and swollen and he won't recover in time for tomorrow," Di Matteo said.

"So it reduces the squad but everybody else is okay. It is also our fourth game in 10 days and they have all been big games so we are looking to freshen the team up a little bit for sure, and also put a couple of youngsters in.

"We always talk about developing and giving youngsters a chance so this type of game is a good opportunity for some of them."

Chelsea beat Championship side Wolves 6-0 in the previous round and Di Matteo is excited to see how fringe players such as Lucas Piazon, Cesar Azpilicueta and Daniel Sturridge perform.

"They are very good players and they are young but they have a little bit of experience as well, and it will be great to see them perform," he said.

"They have been waiting for an opportunity and going forward I think we will see more of them.

"Our fixture list is pretty packed with seven games in November and nine or ten games in December and it is very demanding."

Di Matteo is, however, unsure how Alex Ferguson will approach the game with a place in the quarter-finals awaiting the winners.

"I am not sure United are going to go with a similar team to the one they had against Newcastle or they are going to mix up it," he said.

"It is a bit of an unknown and we will have to wait for the teamsheet, but I am not expecting just a young team, I am expecting a strong team.

"When you play Man United it is always a big game in whichever competition you play in.

"I hope the supporters get behind the team, the young players especially, and push us on to a win.

"Any trophy you add to your cabinet is a plus and this is one you have to try your best to go and get. That is the objective."

Article

Keane keen to earn cup stripes

30 October 2012 17:17

Michael Keane hopes to take another step in his progression at Manchester United in Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash with Chelsea.

The young defender has put his hand up for selection at Stamford Bridge after playing in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United in the previous round.

Keane, 19, admitted while the game against Alan Pardew's side left him physically and mentally tired, he is aware that only further exposure will help him cope.

"You play games with more pressure when you get to a higher level," he told MUTV.

"Every game you play, you've got more experience of playing for points and playing because it means something rather than just friendlies.

"When you get called into the first team, you're used to being desperate to win.

"I've never been that tired after a game. Mentally as well as physically because of the concentration, how the day went building up to it and then the 90 minutes was tough but we did well."

United have suffered a number of injuries in defence, providing several opportunities for the England youth international to feature in the senior team.

"I've been training every day," Keane said. "Working hard and getting fitter every day so it's going well.

"I know there's probably only going to be one or two opportunities because of the players involved but I can't think like that.

"I've just got to work hard every day in training and prove I'm good enough to play and, hopefully, get picked.

"A lot has happened in the last year but it's been good experience for me.

"I keep stepping up a level and, hopefully, that will keep happening and I can progress with England and keep getting my chances here in the first team."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 2 +5 6
2 2 +4 6
3 2 +4 6
4 2 +2 6
5 2 +1 4

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
11 2 +0 2
12 2 +0 2
13 2 -1 1
14 2 -1 1
15 2 -1 1