The reigning champions of England, Chelsea hosted Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The west London side were not having the best of season and were still recovering under manager Guus Hiddink. The Blues were up against a young inexperienced side put up by the Italian manager, yet still had a job in hand to do, though they had the support of the home crowd behind their back.
The game was evenly matched in the opening 45 minutes, though the home side had the better chances. Pedro looked lively, but it was striker Diego Costa who headed in the opening goal on the 35th minute, after Eden Hazard put in a superb cross from the left-hand side. However the lead did not last long, as debutant striker David Faupala equalized a couple of minutes later. It was a well created move, which ensured that both sides went into the break level at 1-1.
After the restart, despite their best efforts the visitors could not display a similar performance to the first half and conceded on the 48th minute when Willian gave Chelsea the lead. Further, center-back Gary Cahill added a third for his side on the 53rd minute, with Hazard scoring a fourth on the 67th minute. Substitute Bertrand Traore added a fifth for his side with just a minute of normal time to play, to ensure an emphatic win for the west London side on the night.
Here is what the Dutch manager had to say about his side’s superb performance against their Premier League rivals in his post-match conference:
“We knew we would play against a team with some changes but it’s not always easy when youngsters are coming in.”
“They had a back four with experienced players, and youngsters in midfield and attack, but they caused a threat at the beginning and did well with the equaliser.”
“You have to be very aware to not make stupid mistakes or get sloppy or complacent. We got sloppy with our organisation when they equalised but we had a very good reaction in the second half. It was key that we started well in the second half and got an early second or third goal.”
“When the team does the job it has to do – tactical disciplined and organised defensively, and pressing high – then automatically the quality will show.”
“If you win 5-1 last week, if you have an okay performance and result in Paris, and now today 5-1 against Man City then of course it’s a boost for the confidence of the players. It’s good to see that.”
Talking about the Cup win back from 2009, when Hiddink himself was the manager he added, “It was a long time ago. I have good memories but that’s the past. They will remember that as well. Some might still be in the team so they’ll go for revenge. We had a difficult game against them here. We hope to maintain our flow in the FA Cup when we play them there. It won’t be easy.”
Stressing on the significance of the competition here and abroad, he further stated, “On one hand the programme for many clubs is rather harsh, on the other hand you can play every three or four days, especially if your squad is broad quality-wise.”
“We mustn’t forget the tradition of English football. I remember watching the FA Cup as a youngster on TV, it’s the temple of football. Winning the FA Cup is beautiful worldwide. We must be careful not to devalue it.”
Talking about the coin throwing incident by the celebrating visiting players, he concluded, “I was aware of it and I like to face the facts. We condemn it and I condemn it strongly and Chelsea will react. Those people must not come in to the stadiums.”