The common consensus among Chelsea’s playing staff was that it was a below-par performance in eastern Europe on Tuesday, and both John Mikel Obi and David Luiz spoke afterwards to support the view.
An early goal was always going to make things difficult in Donetsk and we struggled to contain Shakhtar’s creative forces, with Petr Cech to thank for the scoreline remaining so close.
‘The game wasn’t good on our side. We could do a lot better in controlling the game, it was very open and too easy for Shakhtar,’ conceded Mikel. ‘We went down too quickly in the game and it became very difficult for us. The whole team was not good.’
David Luiz was in full agreement, and believes scoring early helped the home side settle.
‘The early goal gave them big confidence,’ said the Brazilian. ‘When you score in the first five minutes in your own stadium you have a lot of support.
‘It was a difficult game and we didn’t play well. When you play for a big club you need to be a big player when you lose and we saw the truth of the game, we should have played better and didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to win the game.
‘It was a hard game, everybody who saw it knows that. We have to say congratulations to Shakhtar because they played well.’
Willian, a former transfer target of Andre Villas-Boas during his Chelsea tenure, particularly impressed at the Donbass Arena. It was no surprise to David Luiz, who knows the winger well.
‘I have known Willian for a long time,’ he confirmed. ‘We played together when we were 18 years old and he is my friend. He is a great player, and you can see he plays in a great team.’