Di Matteo wants right balance

Chelsea boss is looking to sort out the Blues' defensive frailties after a fortunate victory over Reading thanks to an 'offside' goal from Torres

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 1:21am


Roberto di Matteo admitted his Chelsea side remain a work in progress after they needed a controversial Fernando Torres goal to secure victory over newly promoted Reading.

Di Matteo was once again impressed by the performance of Eden Hazard - signed this summer for £32 million (HK$392 million) from Lille.

And he believes the Belgian is already striking up an effective partnership with fellow playmaker Juan Mata after just two games of the new Premier League season. Hazard provided two more assists in the 4-2 defeat of Reading to add to the two he provided at Wigan.

That has helped the Blues claim maximum points from their opening two games - but the way they allowed Reading back into the game highlighted the defensive work that still needed to be done as Di Matteo attempts to introduce Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin into his side.

The Chelsea manager said: "The balance was always going to be the key. It's all great and everyone wants to see a lot of flair play, but to win games you need a good balance to it. That's going to be the challenge.

"I would like to think we are defensively quite good. We had a clean sheet on the first day.

"Tonight Reading did well to score, but we've scored six goals in two games. We'll have to try and be solid. That's how you win more games."

Hazard won the penalty that allowed Frank Lampard to open the scoring but Reading replied through Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie before Gary Cahill brought Chelsea back level.

"Hazard had an impact in our team, but I think him and Juan Mata linked up very well. He's finding his feet very quickly, so that is pleasing for us," Di Matteo said.

Torres then scored from an offside position nine minutes from time and Branislav Ivanovic made it four when Reading keeper Adam Federici went up for a late header.

Reading manager Brian McDermott said: "I'm gutted the linesman's got that decision wrong on the third goal.

"He was offside. That's life. People makes mistakes, and he [the linesman] has made a mistake tonight.

"It's just a shame it was for such a crucial goal because we would definitely have got a point. I'm really disappointed for the players."

Di Matteo hinted he would speak to David Luiz, who announced he was out with a knee injury on Twitter on the morning of the game.

The manager said: "We expect him to be available for Saturday. This social media is around now. We'll deal with it internally, no problem."

McDermott refused to blame Federici for his failure to keep out Cahill's shot.

The Australian keeper also made an error in his side's opening game against Stoke but the manager insists the player will come good.

"It has moved with that second goal," McDermott said. "I'm not concerned about him at all. He's got fantastic mentality.

"It's like everything: once a result has happened, you have to box it off. You can't affect that. You have to move on.

"Let's be prepared for the next game and be ready. He's not overwhelmed by the Premier League."