Rafael Benitez has given his verdict after a difficult and disappointing night in Wales.
The manager was speaking after seeing his side eliminated from the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, a competition we would have been favourites for when the draw was made. Despite dominating for long spells in both legs, we were unable to break through against a Swansea side determined to reach its first major cup final.
The task was made all the harder when with 10 minutes to go, Eden Hazard was red-carded after clashing with a ballboy at the Liberty Stadium. It is an incident that will take the headlines, though Benitez was quick to confirm the pair had since met and apologised to each other.
‘The ballboy has been in the dressing room talking with Hazard,’ he said. ‘They apologised to each other, they know they were wrong and that’s it. He was wasting time, Hazard was frustrated and wanted to get the ball back quickly. They both made a mistake and we cannot say too much. Both were wrong and we cannot change things.
‘As a football club we know there was a mistake. We will talk to the player. We will deal with this internally. He was frustrated and wanted to get the ball back.
‘We will analyse and we will have to wait to see what happens.
‘We know he has made a mistake and we are paying for that because we were playing with 10 players and we needed to score goals.’
Benitez felt we had chances to get back into the tie but was once again left disappointed with our efficiency in front of goal.
‘We were playing with 10 players, had problems and needed to score three goals. We couldn’t. That’s the main thing,’ said the Spaniard.
‘We didn’t start the game well. After we had chances, half-chances, but we didn’t hit the target in the way we had to. We didn’t score the first goal. We were paying for the first game. We knew we had to score three goals, but we didn’t take the chances we had, especially in the last 20 minutes of the first half. We had pressure, they were dealing with it well and we have to congratulate them, we cannot change the situation again.
‘I was convinced that we could score. We were on top of them and pushing and pushing, but we didn’t take our chances. This was the same as in the first leg. We knew we had to score first to change things and put them under pressure but they are a good team and play good counter-attack. Still we had 15 attempts but not enough.’