Chelsea (a) Premiership
Half time: Chelsea 0 Newcastle 0
51mins: Essien looked to have fouled Solano in claiming possession, but was allowed to advance forward and slip the ball to Lampard. Playing in his record-equalling 159th consecutive Premiership game, he advanced unopposed towards our box before funnelling the ball out to Hernan Crespo. The Argentinean forward side-stepped Bramble and curled the ball home from inside the box. 0-2
90mins: Given was beaten for the third time by a combination of Damien Duff and Scott Parker, the Irish winger advancing in from the left flank and looping his shot in via a deflection from the former Chelsea man 0-3Full time: Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0
Graeme Souness said:
"I haven't seen it on TV but it looked like a penalty. But I don't talk about referees and you don't ask them anything, because you don't get any sense out of them.
"There was not a lot between the two teams in the first half but within six minutes we were two goals down and that changed everything. Three-nil is hard on us and apart from two mistakes and a deflected goal there was not a lot between the teams.
"He (Owen) felt a bit of a groin
strain in training and we thought we might get away with it, but this morning he
felt it was not right so he travelled back up north at lunchtime."
"It is always more difficult to play as the lone striker but hopefully it won't be the case again. I was hoping to play with Michael and I was looking forward to it.
"It was a real shame when he pulled out because we missed him - me more than most. Hopefully we will get some good news on his fitness this week.
"It's difficult to play up front on your own, but you just have to do what you can. I felt that I fought well for the full 90 minutes and I think I made it difficult for Chelsea at the back.
"Their defenders will feel that they have been in the game and that's all I can do. It's difficult to take on three players on your own. I did all I could and I gave 100%, but it will be nice to get some of our players back.
would have been difficult enough to get a result at Chelsea if we had had all of
those players. But without them, it was always going to be a tall order. Even
so, we managed to match Chelsea for a long time. But what happened was a massive
Given the nature of Newcastle's defeat - defensive errors cost the Magpies dear - the main focus of this week's training programme will be on tightening up at the back.
"We could have accepted what happened at Stamford Bridge if Chelsea had outplayed us at the weekend, but if you make mistakes against the kind of world-class players Chelsea have, they will punish you.
"Chelsea put a bit of pressure on us and forced us into those mistakes. But I don't think 3-0 was justified. We have to learn from it, pick ourselves up and move on."
Jose Mourinho commented:
"It's nice to win. Life is difficult when you lose. When you are used to winning so many times, life is not easy when you lose because you are not happy. I said in pre-season that we will win the title on the last day of the season (at Newcastle) and I still think so.
"My half-time talk was more about preparing the team for the changes I would make in the last 20 or 25 minutes in case the result was still 0-0. The team played well in the first half but we were not winning because Newcastle gave us a difficult game.
"I have no headaches about selection. Injuries are headaches to me. I like to have all my options available but Claude could not carry on. He is feeling pain in his knee and he will have some further examinations to see what kind of injury it is.
"When a player like Claude cannot play the rest of the game it might be something serious. We will have to wait and see."
"I think now he (Joe Cole) is a player. One year ago he was a player with potential, now he is a player.
"He has everything. He is strong defensively and physically and has not lost the attacking qualities or the skill that potentially made him a very good player. He understands the game and works for the team. We are very happy with him.
"The hand ball I never saw. The other one was John Terry's tackle on Lee Bowyer - no penalty for me."
“It was suggested that he (Crespo) was injured playing for Argentina and that I ordered him to come home. The injury was cramp and I didn’t. He came back on Thursday and there were no problems as far as I was concerned.”
Our special one didn't have to sit through this after having tweaked his groin, but for all the use an Owen-less United were, the occupants of the away section may as well have joined him in fleeing the Capital before kick off.
As it was, those who spluttered at the ticket
price (but still paid) found precious little that was pleasurable on view
from our improved vantage point, as we held Chelsea at bay for the first
half but took 83 minutes to register our first - and only - shot on target.
There was a certain stoicism about United in
the opening 45 minutes, as we unsurprisingly didn't take the game to Chelsea,
but didn't look in any danger of conceding as Given didn't get the chance to
reprise any of his eye-catching stops from recent away games.
It's entirely typical of us to open up the
vague possibility of registering a positive result from a tricky situation, only
to then ruthlessly then crush that hope with some self-administered mistakes.
Come the final whistle and half a side
applauded the away end, the combative Parker at least having the decency to look genuinely
gutted at the outcome.