John Mikel Obi admitted that the players had temporarily switched off for the goal which allowed Juventus to rescue a point at Stamford Bridge last night.
On our return to Champions League action, the Blues had raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to an Oscar brace in the space of a couple of first-half minutes, but after hitting back through Arturo Vidal shortly before the break, the Italians equalised nine minutes from time through substitute Fabio Quagliarella after a misplaced pass from Mikel.
‘It was a game we should have won,’ said a clearly frustrated Mikel. ‘We played very well, had more control of the game and looked more dangerous.
‘I’m disappointed, it was my pass and I over-hit it. After that we should have reacted properly but we didn’t.
‘The second goal was a cheap one to give away, we switched off, it was a pass to Eden [Hazard] that didn’t quite get there and then we switched off, we should have dealt with it properly.’
As opening fixtures go, facing a resurgent Juventus, who came into the game having not lost in Serie A for 42 matches and unbeaten on the road for 16 months, was always going to be a difficult test.
It was only the third time we’d failed to get our Champions League campaign off to a winning start, but while there was inevitably disappointment after allowing the lead to slip, Mikel stressed the need to remain positive moving forward.
‘We started the game well and scored the two goals,’ he explained. ‘We had possession and had the game under control. They scored their goal, and then we came out for the second half in the same way we started the first.
‘2-2 is not bad, we need to keep our heads up. We wanted to win the game but Juventus are a good team, tactically they are very sound, so we knew we had to dig deep to get our goals which is what we did, I’m just disappointed with the way we gave away the second goal.’
The biggest positive was undoubtedly the performance of Oscar, making his first start for the club, who lit up west London with two long-range strikes worthy of the biggest stage.
Mikel paid tribute to the tricky Brazilian, before underlying the importance of not looking too far ahead.
‘He’s a great player, he’s done brilliantly scoring the two goals, but his general play was good as well. Hopefully he’s going to be a great player for the club,’ said the Nigerian.
‘It’s going to be difficult, obviously we want to win it again, we want to go as far as we can but there’s no kidding about how tough it’s going to be.
‘Our first thought is to come out of the group stage and then look forward. Right now we want to take each game as it comes, and the next game is going to be an important one.’