May 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Roberto Di Matteo was hoping Chelsea’s late show against Nordsjaelland tonight would signal the start of better away days to come in the Champions League.
The European champions avoided another winless outing on the continent this evening thanks to three goals in the final 11 minutes of a flattering 4-0 victory in Copenhagen.
It was far from a walk in the Parken before that as the Blues threatened to blow another lead, having thrown away a two-goal advantage in their Group E opener against Juventus two weeks earlier.
They also surrendered leads in all of their away group matches last term and manager Di Matteo was keeping his fingers crossed they finally had that monkey off their backs.
He said: “It’s difficult to win away in the Champions League. We’re pleased.
“We got a clean sheet, another one, and scored four goals. Who knows? Hopefully some more will come away from home.”
Juan Mata maintained his superb recent form with his third goal in three games in the first half but it took a superb David Luiz free-kick to open the floodgates, with Mata and Ramires adding gloss to the scoreline.
Di Matteo added: “We expected a difficult game and that’s exactly how it turned out to be.
“We were a bit slow out of the blocks, even if we had chances to score. We scored one and had a couple of other chances.
“The second goal was important for us, to settle us down. We were sharper and better in the second half, and once we scored that second goal, we knew we’d win the game.
“They play, no matter what, their football and it’s not easy.
“There are no pushovers in the Champions League - look at Bayern [Munich] losing, and [Manchester] United having to come back.”
Nordsjaelland had plenty of chances themselves tonight and Petr Cech produced a superb save onto the post from Joshua John when the score was still 1-0.
Di Matteo said: “They had nothing to lose. When the scoreline’s 1-0, it’s always dangerous.
“They committed players forward, and that’s how football is. We were looking for that second goal to close the game off.
“They had one good chance with Petr’s crucial save, and a couple of half-decent chances.”
Di Matteo rested captain John Terry and others to “freshen up” his team but Fernando Torres maintained his record of starting every game.
Despite scoring in his last two matches, the Spain striker had the latest in a long line of nights to forget in front of goal.
But Di Matteo said: “Torres was excellent. It’s a shame he didn’t score in the first half when he had the chance.
“He played very well for the team, was always available and a threat. I was very pleased with him.”
Di Matteo was also pleased with Group E rivals Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk drawing in Turin, a result which ensured Chelsea top spot.
“It just shows exactly what I thought about the group,” he said.
“The Ukrainian champions are a very good team, and it’s going to be hard for us to qualify.
“It was important to win today.
“The scoreline shows four goals scored and none conceded, so that’s pleasing.
“Away from home, it’s not easy in this competition, and I refer to the results you see tonight.”