Sport Soccer

Friday 23 February 2018

Style comes second to winning at Chelsea, admits Robert Di Matteo

CHELSEA manager Roberto Di Matteo insisted results would always matter more than style after his side's impressive win at Tottenham kept them four points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The 4-2 triumph at White Hart Lane was achieved in the manner which owner Roman Abramovich is reported to crave, with the European champions now having scored 19 goals in their eight league games so far.

"Ultimately we want to win games, we want to win in the way we think we can win games with the players we have," said Di Matteo, who fielded at attacking trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard behind Fernando Torres.

"We don't go out and just say 'Let's play good football and lose'. Our philosophy is to play in a certain way because we believe with the players we have that is the way to win games."

Chelsea dominated the first half but only had Gary Cahill's brilliant strike to show for it and soon found themselves 2-1 down in the second period as William Gallas and Jermain Defoe scored.

But the visitors hit back as Mata scored twice and then set up a tap-in for Daniel Sturridge.

Manchester United remain second in the table after also claiming a 4-2 win, although they had to come from behind at Old Trafford against Stoke.

United found themselves behind for the seventh time in 11 games this season and Wayne Rooney, who scored twice after his 11th-minute own goal gave the visitors the lead, admitted such a trend cannot continue.

Rooney said: "Of course it is a concern. We can't keep doing that. No disrespect to Stoke, but better opposition will punish us."

Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck also scored for United, who were pegged back to 3-2 by Michael Kightly's goal.

Manchester City are level on points with their local rivals, but only after coming from a goal and a man down to win 2-1 at West Brom.

James Milner was sent off midway through the first half for bringing down Shane Long, who opened the scoring on 67 minutes only to see substitute Edin Dzeko score twice in the last 10 minutes to snatch victory.

City first-team coach David Platt said: "If you look at Edin's career for Manchester City, the goals he has scored, he has got a lot of heavy goals, goals that are very important.

"I remember goals at Blackburn the season before last which more or less gave us Champions League qualification.

"To win the league, (Sergio) Aguero's goal will always be the one but remember Edin equalised."

At the other end of the table, Southampton remain without a point on their travels after going down 4-1 at West Ham.

The Saints have now conceded 24 goals in just eight league matches and when asked how long he will have to turn things around, manager Nigel Adkins said: "Honest answer? I don't know.

"There needs to be stability at any football club, which is important. But I am not naive as it's football and football is a results-driven industry."

Elsewhere, Norwich climbed out of the bottom three with their first win of the season as Grant Holt's goal was enough to beat Arsenal 1-0 at Carrow Road, while Liverpool won by the same scoreline at home to Reading.

Fulham were also 1-0 winners at home with Chris Baird the unlikely matchwinner against Aston Villa, while Swansea ended a run of five games without a win by beating Wigan 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

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