There was little Roberto Di Matteo could say that we did not already know following our defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
United snatched victory at the Bridge for the first time in 10 years thanks to an offside Javier Hernandez goal after Chelsea had seen Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres dismissed within five second-half minutes, and Di Matteo was dismayed at the decision-making of the officials.
Torres in particular had every right to be aggrieved, his second yellow card erroneously awarded by referee Mark Clattenburg, who adjudged the Spaniard to have dived when in fact Jonny Evans had caught the striker.
These events served to distract from our superb comeback after we had fallen two goals behind early on, and Di Matteo was eager to praise his side’s character in adversity.
On Refereeing Decisions
Di Matteo could accept Ivanovic’s red, although saw it as harsh, but was adamant Torres was harshly treated, and gave little attention to Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that the striker could have stayed on his feet after being fouled.
‘It’s quite obvious in the eyes of everybody that the second yellow for Fernando wasn’t one, it was a foul for us, he should have booked Evans and the decisive goal was offside. It’s a shame the game has to be decided in that manner by the officials.
‘Whatever [Ferguson] says, it was a foul in our favour and Fernando put the ball between Evans’s legs, was through and was kicked on the shin and went down. It’s a foul and a booking for the other player, not for our player.
‘We’re massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong it always seems to be in favour of the opposition and it’s a massive disadvantage for us. At 2-2 we looked like the team that were probably going to win the game so it’s a shame. It was a good game of football with two good teams and the officials ruined it.
‘They are under a lot of pressure and they have to be able to deal with it. Key decisions have to be right for any team and you don’t want the referees to be a big influence. Let the teams play a good game of football against each other. That’s what everyone wants.’
Torres and Ivanovic will both serve one-match suspensions, which come against United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
On Chelsea’s Display
The manager was impressed with the comeback, but now has to prepare to go again against Ferguson’s men when they visit in midweek.
‘Today was a poor start. We were slow but the first goal was lucky. We had a tough week with three intense games and a long trip to Ukraine. After those first 20 minutes we got into our rhythm and started to play the way we can and the way we want to play.
‘We showed great character and responded well to get back into the game and equalise, then had a good number of chances as well. I was confident we could go on and win the game.
‘We’ve got that kind of personality in our dressing room, that we never give up, and who knows if they didn’t score the offside goal we could maybe hang onto the draw with nine men, but it becomes difficult when you’re down to nine.
‘There were two good teams on the pitch and we looked very strong and caused them a lot of problems. De Gea made a couple of fantastic saves and I was confident we could win the game, they looked vulnerable.
‘We have to regroup first of all. We will have a few players missing after we played with nine men and in a week when we had a long trip to Ukraine. I have to see how the players are tomorrow and think about what kind of team I put out on Wednesday.
‘We know we have a good and strong team. We just have to ride this moment where we miss a few players, play in three days and get our energy back.
‘Today we looked like a team that wanted to win and were very strong out on the pitch. Decisions went against us and made it very difficult but I am sure in the long run this is a team with a lot of qualities and even though we might find moments and situations like this we can come out of it once we get everybody back. We’re a good team.’
You can see the full 90 minutes on Chelsea TV from midnight tonight.