Ancelotti – I Blame It on the Team

Who would you blame for Chelsea’s defeat? Would you blame it on Torres? Would you blame it on the team? Would you blame it on luck? Who would you blame? Well, Chelsea’s head coach has something to say after the match…

Carlo Ancelotti felt his side were deserving of more against Liverpool on Sunday, but praised the visitors after they left with all three points.

Despite the addition of Fernando Torres to an already talented frontline, we failed to create any clear cut opportunities against a defensively-set Liverpool side, and although we had two penalty claims waved away, rarely looked like scoring.

A mix-up at the back between goalkeeper Petr Cech and Branislav Ivanovic allowed Raul Meireles to score the only goal of the game, which keeps us 10 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United, despite their 2-1 defeat at Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

‘We are disappointed because we had a great opportunity to close the gap and now there is the same distance, but we have to keep going, we have less possibility to close the gap but we have to try again,’ Ancelotti said after seeing his side’s second home league defeat of the season.

‘I think the Premier League is very difficult to play every game, so it can happen that Manchester United can lose again. Every team can lose, it is a fantastic league with lots of balance, and now the games are very important for everyone.’

The win will feel all the sweeter for Liverpool fans after our capture of Torres on transfer deadline day, though Ancelotti felt the Spaniard performed well on his Stamford Bridge debut, despite substituting the forward on the hour.

‘Torres did a good job on the pitch but we had difficulty to find space in front, first because Liverpool defended very well, they put three central defenders in the middle, we didn’t find a right solution to attack them, and second we had difficulty to play from the back, too slow, and so we didn’t find space,’ the manager explained.

‘Fernando tried to do something; he had good movement and did a good job. He has to try in the training sessions to combine well with the other strikers but this is normal after one game.

‘He has experience, he has confidence and he didn’t show problems before the game. He was enthusiastic to play and didn’t show a problem. I took him out because after 60 minutes and a very busy week for him it was good to take him out.’

The game saw Ancelotti repeat the deployment of a 4-1-2-1-2 shape, which worked well at Sunderland in midweek, where Nicolas Anelka fitted in behind two central strikers, in this case Torres and Didier Drogba. Today though, it seemed to limit our creativity, and the manager was asked whether it highlighted the problem of trying to get three strikers into the same side.

‘We played a fantastic game with this shape at Sunderland and we wanted to repeat it,’ Ancelotti said. ‘Liverpool changed their shape, were very strong defensively, put a lot of pressure on in their half and we were not able to find the right solution. I think the right result was a draw because we didn’t concede a lot of chances but this is football.

‘Liverpool played very well today with fantastic power, fantastic strength, fantastic attitude.

‘The problem was not these players together, they have a lot of quality,’ the Italian argued. ‘I have to try to put them together and I will try to do everything to put them together. They have fantastic quality, their shape was good. Obviously we could play better as a team, not just in front, but when you don’t play quick from the back you have difficulty to find space in front.’

There are now international fixtures this midweek but with us not playing until next Monday, February 14, Ancelotti will have time to try and get his men working as he wants in training.

There may not have been need for the discussion; however, had referee Andre Marriner opted to award either of two penalty claims, the first for a Lucas Leiva handball, and the second for a push on Ivanovic in the area by former Blue Glen Johnson.

Speaking on the latter, Ancelotti said: ‘It was a penalty, but it is no use to talk about the decision of the referee. It was clear but it doesn’t matter.’

In truth, a point may have hidden what was an underwhelming performance, so there is plenty to consider before our next outing. One thing to ponder will be whether David Luiz is awarded with a start, the Brazilian making his debut as a late sub this afternoon.

‘We have fantastic players with fantastic ability. It was a difficult game, obviously we are disappointed, but both Fernando Torres and David Luiz will be the future for this club,’ Ancelotti said.

Well, the future of any great team is always bright if the stakeholders will always do the right thing at the right time. Chelsea as a team has to go back to the drawing board. The Stamford Bridge guys should trace their mistakes, correct them and move on.

Watch the Chelsea v Liverpool Highlights here

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