Victor Moses’s last-gasp goal left Roberto Di Matteo talking about victory rather than damaging draw after the final whistle, Chelsea having inflicted Shakhtar Donetsk’s first defeat away in any competition in over a year.
The Ukrainian champions, as on their home turf a fortnight earlier, were impressive and provided a stern challenge to the Blues but this time we took the lead early on, only to be pegged back twice before a set-piece goal deep into injury time decided the match.
It leaves Chelsea level on points with Shakhtar but in second place behind them due to the head-to-head results between the sides. Juventus in third are one point further behind.
‘In terms of the timing of the winning goal I would agree there was an element of luck,’ admitted Di Matteo, ‘but playing against a good team I thought we deserved to win because we did a lot of good things and we put them under pressure, especially in the first half. That is how we scored the first two goals, we applied pressure, so I think we deserved to win ultimately.
‘It was always going to be difficult because Shakhtar have a lot of good individuals who play as a team very well, and they have shown it in all the games they have played. The fact we went ahead twice and didn’t quite hold on to the lead made it more difficult and we need to work on this, being able to see out games.’
On the Blues’ defending for the goals scored by Willian, who previously had just one goal to his name this season.
‘You look at the goals and we had a lot of players back so it is not like we were outnumbered. The first goal we had two players slipping and the second we had plenty of players in defence to deal with the cut back, but we need to work on our defensive organisation and that has to improve over time.’
On the decision to name John Terry as a substitute.
‘JT is a fantastic player and has many qualities and I am very happy that he is back available, but considering in the last four weeks he has had one competitive game I thought we needed players that were 100 per cent match fit for a game like this. But we will certainly need him.
‘We probably lacked a little experience in terms of we didn’t have Frank Lampard or Ashley Cole available and JT didn’t play, so there was a lot of Champions League experience that wasn’t on the pitch. In normal circumstances you would like them to be with you but the players who played did tremendously given the enormous pressure we were under in this game. We knew we needed to win and it was difficult given the quality Shakhtar have and the way they play.’
On the position in the group and the remaining games away to Juventus then home to Nordsjaelland.
‘We have a good chance to qualify because the last game will be crucial as well to Shakhtar and Juventus when they play each other.
‘We need to win the last game for sure and we need some points in Turin as well.’