The importance the Chelsea team placed on the Club World Cup was clear for all to see from the disappointment at the final whistle.
Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard were two of the players expressing the mood after the 1-0 defeat to Corinthians, on a night when the Blues had more possession and more shots but could not turn chances into goals.
Cahill in particular had reason to curse his misfortune. His first-half shot was only half-saved by Corinthians keeper Cassio but was prevented from going over just inches from the line at the second grab, and it was our centre-back whose block on Danilo’s shot looped up kindly for Paolo Gurrero to score the deciding goal. In the closing minutes he was also shown a red card. Under the competition rules he will be suspended for one match which will be the Leeds game.
‘The whole game felt like we were up against it to be honest,’ Cahill said, ‘but I don’t want to make excuses.
‘Corinthians were tactical, they were well-organised but I don’t think we were very fortunate with quite a few decisions on the night.
‘We had a few chances with which we maybe could have put the game to bed, it is obviously disappointing. I don’t think we played as well as we did in the first game and ultimately it is us that ended up losing the game, and it is the worst feeling in football.
‘It is tough to come all this way and not win it; we had enough chances to at least draw the match,’ said Lampard, who returned to the starting line-up and played 90 minutes as captain.
‘Corinthians are a very good, very organised team as Brazilian teams at club level can be.’
Cahill’s red card came in the 90th-minute after an incident with midfielder Emerson on halfway.
‘I have tackled the guy, we sort of tangled legs and as we tangled he lashed out with his arm and hit me in the face,’ Cahill explained. ‘So I have reacted which wasn’t the greatest of reactions from me but it is two different players – he hits me in the face and I don’t roll around for five minutes holding my face like he has broken my nose and dislocated my jaw.
‘I touch him on the shin and it probably wouldn’t knock over my one-year-old daughter, yet he was rolling around five or six times.’
Now attention must turn very quickly to the cup match at Leeds on Wednesday night and challenges beyond.
‘We have to win a run of games in the league now,’ stated Lampard. ‘We’ve got the league, the Europa League, the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup coming up. We have to move on.’