Petr Cech felt that conceding an early goal gave Shakhtar all the confidence they needed in Donetsk on Tuesday night.
We fell behind inside three minutes to Alex Teixeira’s strike after failing to deal with a throw-in for the home side, and rarely looked like imposing ourselves against a dynamic Shakhtar team.
It made for a busy evening for Cech, who made a string of excellent saves to keep us within touching distance until Fernandinho struck a second goal for the Ukrainian side, consigning us to a first Champions League defeat since Roberto Di Matteo took charge.
There will be eyebrows raised around Europe to see the reigning champions beaten, but Cech insists we knew what to expect at the Donbass Arena, but simply did not deliver.
‘I wouldn’t say it was a shock if you knew this was a pure, counter-attacking team and we allowed them to score in the third minute,’ the goalkeeper said. ‘This had a huge impact in the game because when we had possession and lost it they had the chance to counter, to shoot, to finish. They have been doing really well and we gave them a huge lift in the third minute, then we saw them play with the confidence.
‘We started slowly the same as [in the second half] against Tottenham and we got punished for that. We have to make sure we start games better than this.’
There are positives to take, however, following Nordsjaelland and Juventus playing out a 1-1 draw in Denmark, ensuring we head into the second half of the group stage in a position to qualify for the knockout rounds.
‘Obviously 1-1 there is a result which suits us because we dropped points here and we still play them, so we are still ahead,’ Cech said. ‘Let’s forget about this one, we have a massive game at the weekend, a replay at home and hopefully it will be a different story.’
We now face Manchester United on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, and Cech believes there are similarities between Shakhtar and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
‘In a way what happened today was a good experience for us because we have to defend better,’ he explained. ‘We played well when we have the ball but not when we didn’t have it. If you do this against Man United you are in big danger because they are the same type of team. Hopefully it was a good lesson and we learn for the weekend.’