Speaking shortly before flying back to the UK with the team, Roberto Di Matteo noted progress made during the pre-season but highlighted where work still needs to be done following defeat by AC Milan.
In the final game of the tour in Miami, Chelsea went down by a single goal again, as had been the case in the previous match against the MLS All-Stars, but it was a better display reported the manager, as well as a game in which he had been able to push more players towards full fitness.
‘It is always better to win, it gives you a good feeling, so we are disappointed with the result but I thought there was a big improvement from Wednesday’sgame,’ noted Di Matteo.
‘We get into good positions in the last 20 to 25 yards but we are missing a little bit the cutting edge in those areas, and Fernando Torres only played his first 30 minutes today, plus we are integrating new players – but we had a lot of good possession and good combinations. The final pass was a little bit missing today and in front of the goal we need to be a bit more clinical at times.
‘It was a very tactical game for long periods of time,’ he continued. ‘There were small periods in the first half when it opened up a little bit and maybe towards the end after they scored we got a little bit stretched because we tried to equalise, but Milan are a good team with a lot of internationals so it was a good test for us.’
One of the players given a full match was Eden Hazard who had mostly been used in a central role on the tour, but in Miami started on the flank.
‘I thought Hazard was interesting on the left and he looked a big threat but the organisation today was very good,’ said Di Matteo.
‘The squad is not together yet and it is just pre-season so you have the opportunity to try different solutions and options to see how that works. It has given me a good opportunity to have a look at some of our players and see what role they can play immediately or in the near future. That is what pre-season games are for, you give some youngsters a chance and see how well they have developed and what kind of future they can for us.
‘Now we have two weeks and we are in a good position because we haven’t had any injuries. We have players who have played 90 minutes, and every day the new players play with the squad they will learn about each other a bit more.’
Finally Di Matteo had some words on the tour as a whole.
‘All four cities have been very welcoming and the training facilities have been very high standard, and the pitch tonight was perfect.’