Friday, November 2, 2012

Di Matteo criticizes Fergie

Roberto Di Matteo has responded to Sir Alex Ferguson by saying negative comments about Chelsea are "nothing new" while implicitly criticising the Manchester United manager for speaking so publicly on such incidents.

Earlier on Friday, Ferguson offered his views on the situation, saying: "I don't believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that. I refuse to believe it."

However, Di Matteo, who has tended to be evasive in his Chelsea press conferences, responded in surprisingly strident manner.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Roberto Di Matteo

"As I said, it is a free country and everybody can say what they want," he said. "He likes to talk about other clubs. We tend not to. I'll leave it up to him. It doesn't really affect me too much to be honest.

"We take into consideration what other people say and use it as a motivational tool for ourselves."

Both the Metropolitan Police and the FA are currently investigating claims made against Clattenburg by Premier League leaders Chelsea in the wake of last Sunday's clash with United at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have lodged an official complaint for what they believe was a racist insult directed at Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel, although a second allegation involving Spain playmaker Juan Mata has since been dropped. ESPN understands Clattenburg maintains his innocence.

Asked whether Ferguson's comments were "unhelpful", Di Matteo responded: "It's always a tricky question, whether it's helpful or not.

"Ultimately, we have to try and block as much as we can, block this situation out and just focus and channel our energy on what matters to us as players and coaching staff when we get onto the pitch on a Saturday afternoon."

Otherwise, Di Matteo could not get into the specifics of Ferguson's comment.

"I think the investigation will clarify that so we cannot comment on it," he said. "We do not want to prejudice any investigation. We will wait and see what comes out. I can't comment."

It was a frequent refrain in his Friday press conference. Questioned as to whether referees would alter their attitude as regards Chelsea, Di Matteo replied: "I hope not. I believe that they won't. That's my belief.

"We have faith in the referees. They are people that are under a lot of pressure. They are human beings, like everyone else. You have to try your best but sometimes mistakes can happen."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chelsea investigating alleged racist gesture

Chelsea have confirmed they are investigating an alleged racist gesture during their Capital One Cup victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

A photograph appearing to show a supporter making a 'monkey' gesture in the direction of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck has emerged on social media sites.

"We are investigating an incident involving a member of the crowd at last night's game against Manchester United," Chelsea confirmed in a statement.

"The club will be examining all available footage and asks anyone who can directly identify the individual to contact the club."

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they are aware of the incident, but did not comment further on the matter.

9 Goal Thriller at the Bridge !

For the second time in four days Chelsea and Manchester United played out a thriller at Stamford Bridge, with the hosts gaining some revenge for their Premier League defeat by winning 5-4 to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

As expected both clubs made significant changes to their starting line-ups, Roberto Di Matteo handed rare starts to Cesar Azpilicueta, Oriol Romeu, Victor Moses, Lucas Piazon and Daniel Sturridge while the visitors, made 10 changes to their team, with Rafael the only man to retain his place from Sunday's win.

After the chaos of the weekend, it was perhaps little surprise that the first half was a frenetic affair, played at great pace, with goals, bookings, a penalty and the visitors once again heading into the break 2-1 ahead.

Yet there was more than a hint of farce about United’s opening goal with Petr Cech’s short kick out to Romeu, allowing Anderson to nick the ball off the Spaniard and find Ryan Giggs who finished clinically to open the scoring.

The goal sparked Chelsea into life, and by the half hour mark they were level. The lively Victor Moses burst into the box only to be brought down by Alexander Buttner, giving the referee an easy decision to point to the spot. Up stepped David Luiz who smashed the ball confidently past Anders Lindegaard who got a touch but could not keep it out.

With the scores level the Blues began to dominate possession yet they fell behind once again just minutes before the break. Anderson was again the creator, picking out a great pass to Chicharito, after Luiz had lost the ball on a forward run, and the Mexican finished smartly past Cech for his sixth goal in nine appearances against Chelsea.

The second half began in much the same vein and within minutes Chelsea were back on level terms. A Mata corner from the left was thundered home by Gary Cahill, the ball clearly crossing the line, despite Rafael's attempts to head clear.

Yet back came United once again, just three minutes later. Nani swapped passes with Anderson and raced into the box before dinking a delightful finish over Cech to put United ahead for the third time.
The chances continued to flow, particularly for the hosts, with Azpilicueta missing perhaps the best opportunity when free at the back post, before Juan Mata was left howling for a penalty after his cross hit the arm of Michael Keane, the referee waving the Spaniard's appeals away.

As full-time approached, Chelsea looked to be heading out of the competition but once again there was to be late drama. Another penalty, this time after Scott Wootton clumsily fouled Ramires, allowed Hazard to coolly roll home a spot-kick to send the game into extra time.

The momentum was very much now with the hosts and the Blues took the lead for the first time in the game in the seventh minutes of extra-time. A poor header by Wootton, left Sturridge with just Lindegaard to beat, and the Chelsea striker, who had endured a profligate evening, this time made no mistake.

On another fascinating evening in the Capital One Cup, there was, of course, still time for more goals, with Hazard twisting and turning past a host of United defenders before findingRamires who tapped home the fifth.

United, however, refused to give up and with seconds remaining Giggs grabbed his second of the night from the penalty spot after Azpilicueta fouled Chicharito, but it was to prove too little too late as Chelsea ended a difficult few days on a high.