Thursday, November 6, 2008


'We lost because Roma played better than us,' were Felipe Scolari's straight-forward closing words to his post-match press conference after defeat in Rome.

It was a statement that drew applause from the assembled Italian media but before that thought, the Chelsea manager had highlighted a few ways his team had fallen short.

Mistakes when in possession, an over-eagerness to attack in numbers when just one goal down, and simple lax defending were some of his points. He was clearly not happy after his first away defeat in charge of Chelsea.

'We made mistakes at critical times and gave two good chances to Roma, and they took the goals and killed the game,' he said.

'The first goal there was a foul for us and we tried to play a short ball we shouldn't. Roma pressured us because two or three players were near the ball. We make a foul and after this, no-one followed Panucci in the area and they made the first goal.'

The former Chelsea loanee's close-range 33rd minute strike was a strong tonic for a side low on confidence and second best in this game until that point.

'Roma played some games in Italy not very well but they have very good player and when you make mistakes as we did, it gives chance to these players. And when Roma make the first goal in any game, it is difficult to draw.

'After this first goal, Roma play with five in midfield and they control the game. The second goal, the ball was for us. Then Mikel made a mistake and they make the third goal - finish!'

Deco's second yellow card, for taking a free-kick too early, would not have received the same punishment had it been a Roma player Scolari suggested. But by then there were only 10 minutes left with the scoreboard reading 3-1. The damage had been done.

'Until 30 minutes we had three or four very good shots and later we tried again with Drogba, Anelka and Kalou but Roma closed very well, Scolari said, agreeing with a comment that Chelsea's determination to surge forward in the second half left dangerous room for counter-attack.

'Many mistakes were made, we need to think for the next games what happened. Maybe for the future we need to be more relaxed at 1-0 - it is not the finish of the game,'

The defeat was Chelsea's heaviest in Europe since the 3-1 away loss in Monaco in 2004. That was a semi-final first leg and the deficit proved insurmountable at Stamford Bridge.

This time with a one-point lead over Roma and Bordeaux in Group A and three points over Cluj, there are two games to make amends.

'It is open for all,' Scolari summed up, before estimating, 'We have seven points and if we win one game we should be there because Roma play Bordeaux and they both can't win.'

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