FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: WORKING TO IMPROVE

Rafael Benitez is still searching for his first win as interim Chelsea manager after watching his side lose 3-1 away at West Ham United, having led 1-0 at the break.

Former Chelsea man Carlton Cole equalised for the hosts midway through the second half in controversial circumstances, before late goals by Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga secured the victory for Sam Allardyce’s side.

We are now without a league win since October, and Benitez spoke of the need for improvement.

On today’s performance
‘It’s not easy, in the first half we could have scored two or three and finished the game,’ he said. ‘It would have been completely different, but we didn’t do it.

‘In the second half we didn’t start well, they got on top of us and we couldn’t manage. Their first goal was controversial but it made a big difference.

‘After that we weren’t in control and gave the ball away too easily. We couldn’t win the loose balls and weren’t comfortable in possession.

‘It’s difficult to explain when you play so well in the first half, but you can manage the second half easier if you are 2-0 or 3-0 up.’

On striking the right balance between defence and attack
‘The only way to turn it around is to keep working hard in training sessions. We have two games every week and it’s not easy. We were a bit better in defence after two clean sheets, and today we conceded three goals but were better in attack. We now have a situation in defence that we need to improve again.

‘We are working in defence, trying to improve the transitions and also working on creating more chances. We had the right balance in the first half.’

On our title assault slipping away
I don’t want to think about other teams. Our next game is in the Champions League which we will try to win and then we’ll focus on the next one after that. You can’t keep looking at the league table every day.’

On winning the supporters around
‘We have to improve on the pitch in order for the fans to be happy. We have experienced players who have played at this level for a long time, you can see how the players train and it’s clear they want to improve.’

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