'We're still in the mix' says Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo bristled at suggestions Chelsea were in the midst of another winter of discontent, despite seeing them throw away victory yet again.
The European champions made it three Barclays Premier League games without a win as Liverpool came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. That saw Chelsea end the weekend three points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the table in third place, a fortnight after they were bidding to go seven clear at the top.
Blues boss Di Matteo did not take kindly to the 10-point swing being pointed out, saying: "We're in much better shape than in previous years, in a much better position, and very close to our best," he said. "We're still in the mix. But the amount of games you play in this period has some kind of effect."
He added: "United came here, we had two sent off and they scored an offside winner. That's a big advantage for the opposition. We're still playing well and creating chances. We need to be a bit more clinical, to take our chances and finish the game off.
"It was crucial to kill the game off. We had the chances to do that, but we missed opportunities, the goalkeeper made some great saves, and we didn't manage that second goal."
He said: "We had our man marking the opposition and Ramires was with Suarez and he pushed him away to create that bit of space for himself to nod the ball in. Sometimes the refs notice, sometimes they don't. It's one of those."
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was delighted with his side's comeback, which made it six league games without defeat. He said: "We were excellent second half. We were a wee bit tentative first half, and that was my fault. Great character from the players yet again. To come here, it's a terrific point."
A draw was not enough to lift Liverpool out of 13th place and they ended the weekend 15 points behind United.
Rodgers added: "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see the squad. These guys are giving me everything. We finished eighth last year. If we can improve on that, it'll be fantastic for us."
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