REACTION: WORK IN PROGRESS

Speaking shortly before flying back to the UK with the team, Roberto Di Matteo noted progress made during the pre-season but highlighted where work still needs to be done following defeat by AC Milan.

In the final game of the tour in Miami, Chelsea went down by a single goal again, as had been the case in the previous match against the MLS All-Stars, but it was a better display reported the manager, as well as a game in which he had been able to push more players towards full fitness.

‘It is always better to win, it gives you a good feeling, so we are disappointed with the result but I thought there was a big improvement from Wednesday’sgame,’ noted Di Matteo.

‘We get into good positions in the last 20 to 25 yards but we are missing a little bit the cutting edge in those areas, and Fernando Torres only played his first 30 minutes today, plus we are integrating new players – but we had a lot of good possession and good combinations. The final pass was a little bit missing today and in front of the goal we need to be a bit more clinical at times.

‘It was a very tactical game for long periods of time,’ he continued. ‘There were small periods in the first half when it opened up a little bit and maybe towards the end after they scored we got a little bit stretched because we tried to equalise, but Milan are a good team with a lot of internationals so it was a good test for us.’

One of the players given a full match was Eden Hazard who had mostly been used in a central role on the tour, but in Miami started on the flank.

‘I thought Hazard was interesting on the left and he looked a big threat but the organisation today was very good,’ said Di Matteo.

‘The squad is not together yet and it is just pre-season so you have the opportunity to try different solutions and options to see how that works. It has given me a good opportunity to have a look at some of our players and see what role they can play immediately or in the near future. That is what pre-season games are for, you give some youngsters a chance and see how well they have developed and what kind of future they can for us.

‘Now we have two weeks and we are in a good position because we haven’t had any injuries. We have players who have played 90 minutes, and every day the new players play with the squad they will learn about each other a bit more.’

Finally Di Matteo had some words on the tour as a whole.

‘All four cities have been very welcoming and the training facilities have been very high standard, and the pitch tonight was perfect.’

MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 0 AC MILAN 1

Summary
Four players were given 90 minutes of action for the first time in the pre-season but chances proved hard to create against the Serie A side who won it with a second-half strike.

A crowd of 57,748, the second highest for a football match in this stadium in Miami, saw the Blues the better side early on but we did not improve on an early John Terry shot as the best attempt on the Milan goal.

From midway through the opening period it was an even contest which was decided when Chelsea were caught by a piece of swift counter-attacking play. Fitness is coming on but there is still work to do on the training pitch before the season begins.

Team news
Raul Meireles was handed his first start of pre-season and played as the central midfielder behind Romelu Lukaku who began for the fourth match in row on this tour. The defence and two deeper midfielders were the first-choice selection at the end of the last campaign.

Eden Hazard played on the left with Ramires on the right.

Milan left Antonio Cassano on the bench and were without Robinho so started Kevin-Prince Boateng as centre-forward.

First half
Ashley Cole had to flick away a cross from left-back Mesbah that had cleared Petr Cech in the opening minutes, but the first chance was Chelsea’s, Ivanovic heading a free-kick across the area for a falling Terry to half-volley over. It was difficult opportunity.

Hazard was looking bright when on the ball early on but although Chelsea enjoyed the bulk of possession, the next chance was a long while in coming.

There was a moment of concern at the back when Traore nipped onto a loose ball but his hopes of a free-kick as it escaped his control and he tumbled were dashed. The ref decided there had been no contact with close-by John Terry.

The same Milan midfielder shot wide soon after and Ivanovic did well to hold off Flamini inside the Chelsea area as the Blues had to do some defending around the half-hour mark.

The Italian side were improving after a start when Chelsea looked much sharper and we were exposed down the middle by a swift break in which Boateng did well to keep the ball under control. He slipped a pass out to Emanuelson who should have got his shot on target.

Chelsea were finding it difficult to work the ball to players in threatening areas but there was still the possibility of some set-piece joy. The combination that had opened the scoring in the previous match, against the MLS All-Stars, attempted to do the same again, Terry meeting a Lampard corner but this time he headed wide and was annoyed by a shove from a marker.


Second half
Marko Marin replacing Meireles was the only change by either side at the interval. Hazard moved into the centre and almost instantly won a free-kick with an incisive run. From 25 yards out Lampard drove it into the wall. The pressure remained on Milan until Mikel fired a shot into the grip of the keeper.

Lampard soon after sent over a corner that Amelia in the Milan goal misjudged badly but got away with it.

On 50 minutes Lampard was guilty of giving the ball away in his own half, allowing Emanuelson to attack Terry and slip a shot past but Cech dived low to punch away; the best effort and the best piece of goalkeeping in the game so far.

At the other end Lampard was found advancing by Lukaku but although his strike was crisp, it was straight at the keeper.

Ivanovic and Hazard then almost made something happen inside a crowded Milan area on 55 minutes. Chelsea were beginning to play a bit.

There were three changes just before the hour – Ferreira, Cahill and Torres on for Cole, Terry and Lukaku – with the Spaniard’s introduction especially welcomed by the crowd in this Latin-flavoured part of the US.

However it was Milan who took the lead, punishing the Blues by nicking possession just inside their half and attacking swiftly. El Shaarawy looked certain to score but the ball deflected off Cech, only for Emanuelson to sweep it in. There were 68 minutes played.

Cech slipped when trying to deal with an attempt to beat him from inside Milan’s half but was saved embarrassment as it travelled on wide of the target.

Time was running out. Hazard continued to look the most likely to unlock Milan’s defence, just crowded out while making one exciting run, but when he tried a free-kick after Torres had been shoved marginally outside the area, he curved it over the bar.

The final chance of the game fell to our opponents when Mikel headed loosely back but it was sent wide of Cech’s goal.

The team fly directly back to the UK after the game, with match action resuming in a week’s time in Brighton.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic (Sam Hutchinson 75), David Luiz, John Terry (c) (Gary Cahill 58) Ashley Cole (Paulo Ferreira 58); John Mikel Obi, Frank Lampard (Michael Essien 75); Ramires (Florent Malouda 75), Raul Meireles (Marko Marin h-t), Eden Hazard; Romelu Lukaku (Fernando Torres 58).
Unused subs Jamal Blackman, Nathaniel Chalobah, Lucas Piazon.

AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Marco Amelia; Luca Antonini (Ignazio Abate 60), Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes (Francesco Acerbi 60),, Djamel Mesbah; Massimo Ambrosini (Antonio Nocerino 60), Mathieu Flamini (Riccardo Montolvio 60); Urby Emanuelson (Simone Andrea Ganz 86), Bakaye Traore (Kevin Constant 79), Stephen El Shaarawy, Kevin Prince-Boateng (Mattia Valoti 73).
Unused subs Mattia De Sciglio, Bryan Cristante, Edoardo Pazzagli, Philipp Prosenik, Antonio Cassano.
Goal Urby Emanuelson 68.

Referee Ricardo Salazar
Attendance 57,748.

YOUTH TEAM REPORT: CHELSEA 0 LEO ALL STARS 1

The youth team have played the Bangkok leg of their pre-season tour, losing 1-0 to a local side.

The Leo All Stars are a young select side managed by Thai legend Surachai Jaturapattarapong, and they had more of the possession in the first half at the Leo Stadium in Pathum Thani. The winner was scored in the 22nd minute when centre-back Methanon Suttasen headed home from a right-wing corner.

However, Chelsea raised our game in the second half and had a host of chances to equalise, leaving coach Adi Viveash delighted with his team’s performance in front of a noisy crowd of 7,500 spectators.

‘I think everyone was surprised by this turnout. It was a very good game and we’ve had a wonderful time in Thailand. It was very special tonight,’ said Viveash.

‘Obviously the heat out here is a big factor for us and we were a bit sloppy for the goal, but we almost nicked one back in the second half. We’ve got a 15-year-old, Jeremie Boga, who was probably the best player on the pitch.

‘The Thai team had some good individuals and the crowd really enjoyed the game and this is the biggest part of it. I’m really proud of the boys and how they’ve interacted with the fans. The boys will remember this forever.’

Chelsea suffered their first scare in the eighth minute when a Ongoat Pamornprasert free-kick from the right flank curled across the face of goal.

Methanon opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and eight minutes later Chotiwun Sumpiwo’s dipping shot sailed over the bar.

In the 37th minute, Chelsea’s French striker Jeremie Boga had a run on goal but the 15-year-old was denied by brave goalkeeping from Sarayuth Pulsap. Four minutes later, Walter Figueira shot wide from outside the box with one of Chelsea’s rare opportunities.

Chelsea started the second half brightly and Boga created space for a shot following some trickery down the left flank before being again denied by the keeper.

Chelsea had a golden opportunity in the 65th minute when a deflected cross by right winger Ambrose Gnahore bounced over the defence to the far post, but Ismail Seremba was unable to convert from close range.

In the 73rd minute, centre-back Isak Ssewankambo volleyed past the far post from close range and in the 81st minute Gnahore shot wide from the edge of the box as Chelsea pushed hard for an equaliser.

With five minutes to go, Chelsea came even closer from a right-wing corner, but a far-post volley by holding midfielder Ali Gordon sailed across the goalline and narrowly past the post.

After the match, Leo captain Pravinnawat Boonyong lifted the Singha Cup while the Chelsea players won a host of new fans in Bangkok by actively engaging with the lively crowd following the presentation.

Bangkok

Surachai, head coach of Bangkok Glass who play their home games at Leo Stadium, conceded that his team were outplayed in the second half, but agreed that the match provided great entertainment for the fans.

‘It was a good game, but they were better than us, both physically and with the system they play,’ said the former Thailand captain. ‘Their problem was when we scored and it changed the game a little bit in the first half, but we knew they would come back in the second half. It was a good game for the fans.’

The match capped a successful first leg of the Chelsea youth squad’s pre-season tour of Asia before they fly on Sunday to Kuala Lumpur, where they will play the Malaysia U-19 team on Tuesday.

On Friday, the Chelsea youngsters helped launch the Chelsea FC Soccer School Bangkok at the Super Kick facility in the Wangthonglang district of Bangkok and were a big hit as they conducted clinics for 100 local youngsters.

What a win!

Chelsea benefited from a controversial “ghost goal” from Juan Mata but were otherwise comfortable in defeating Tottenham 5-1 to advance to the FA Cup final.
Rafael van der Vaart had efforts off the line and against the post in the first half – but Didier Drogba’s sensational turn-and-shot ensured, out of nothing, a half-time Blues lead.

Referee Martin Atkinson incited shock after the restart when he judged that Mata’s effort had bypassed a crowd on the line and gone in, though Spurs’ anger lifted a little when Bale slotted home shortly after.

A late treble for the Blues, though – Ramires’ finish after beating the offside trap and a fantastic free-kick strike from Frank Lampard before Florent Malouda’s last-gasp fifth – ensured their advancement to face Liverpool next month.

Harry Redknapp surprised some by keeping faith in former Blue Carlo Cudicini as his preferred FA Cup goalkeeper, while Van der Vaart, Emmanuel Adebayor, Scott Parker and William Gallas all also came in after Spurs’ loss to Norwich City.

Chelsea, meanwhile, opted for Drogba up front with Fernando Torres a substitute as David Luiz and Ashley Cole returned to the defence, replacing Gary Cahill and Ryan Bertrand.

The game started on a sour note as a pocket of Chelsea fans jeered during a pre-match minute’s silence in memory of those who died at the Hillsborough disaster as well as Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini.

Once underway, the game started slowly. Drogba had an early chance when he peeled away from his marker chasing a long ball, but mistimed his attempted volley in the box.

Both teams looked cagey but Chelsea needed some great defending when Lampard’s decisive slide tackle robbed Parker in the box.

There was a nervy moment for Spurs in the 26th minute when Chelsea broke forward, Salomon Kalou seizing the ball from Kyle Walker and splitting the defence but Juan Mata, alone in the box, was outpaced slightly by the pass and Cudicini collected safely from his fleeting touch.

Kalou was again involved shortly after when he delivered a nagging cross from the left. Drogba rose to meet it but Ledley King intervened to divert it out.

Spurs nearly took the lead on 36 minutes, however. Lennon received the ball in the box near the right-hand post but spied Van der Vaart advancing from the penalty spot and dinked a short-range cross, but the Dutchman’s header, past Petr Cech, met Terry on the line, whose knee kept it out.

If Adebayor had got a similar touch with his knee when he lunged to meet a stunning cross from the right from Van der Vaart, it might again have been 1-0, but as it was the delivery bypassed both he and Cech before coming back off the post.

And Spurs’ failure to capitalise was punished when Drogba struck. Out of nothing, the striker received the ball with his back to goal. He seemed to be heading away from danger when he touched it to the left, but instead swivelled around Gallas and hammered it left-footed past the helpless Cudicini.

After the break, Chelsea pushed for a second. Drogba battled in the box but reluctantly allowed Mata to strike when his touch fell better for the Spaniard – Cudicini, though, saved well low to his left.

Controversy struck a moment later, though, as an almighty scramble in the box saw players pile up along the line and Mata get a shot into the melee. From some distance away, referee Atkinson ruled that it crossed the line, but television replays appeared inconclusive whilst Spurs protested.

Tottenham, though, got back into it within five minutes. Adebayor powered through the centre and Cech rushed forward to meet him. The keeper brought the Togolese down clearly but was spared a red card as Bale was on hand to knock it into the net. Luiz, seemingly badly hurt tussling with Adebayor in the build-up, was then instantly replaced by Cahill.

After that explosion of events a brief lull came. King was on hand in the Chelsea box some time after, rising for a Van der Vaart corner, but his header was diverted just wide.

Spurs then rued that block when Ramires made it 3-1 in the 77th minute. Walker’s deep position allowed Mata to dink the ball forward for the advanced Ramires without fear of offside, the pass picking him out perfectly, and the Brazilian promptly buried it.

The tie seemed confirmed in swift fashion thereafter. A desperate, farfetched penalty shout for a Cahill handball was followed by a free-kick for Chelsea at the other end. Lampard stepped up to fire it into the corner from range, a fine hit in keeping with his all-time best.

Tempers flared in stoppage time, with Parker needing restraining by team-mates in reaction to a John Obi Mikel kick, but substitute Malouda confirmed the rout by finishing between Cudicini’s legs following a Mata assist.

In Liverpool to win

How important the next match is? Looking at table, it’s enough to get draw and stay second, but can they afford to go to Liverpool and play agains’t Everton on draw level?

If Everton manage to win, and City manage to get three point’s as well, they’ll finish with the same number of point’s like Citizens, which will be very dangerous for Carlo Anchelotti’s future.

Everton managed to win at home agains’t Manchester City after losing 0-1.