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Thursday 01 November 2012

Di Matteo praises Chelsea passion as Man United are knocked out

Blues manager delighted by side's battling spirit; Ferguson rues squandered opportunity to win

  • Ramires tucks away Chelsea's fifth goal against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge

  • Luis Suarez's introduction could not Liverpool losing to Swansea

  • Norwich's Andrew Surman vies with Tottenham's Yago Falque

Roberto Di Matteo was full of praise for the "passion" shown by his Chelsea side after they came from behind on three occasions before overcoming Manchester United 5-4 in the Capital One Cup fourth round.

"We showed big, big heart and passion and pride and didn't want to lose this game"
Roberto Di Matteo

David Luiz, from the penalty spot, and Gary Cahill, early in the second half, cancelled out efforts by Ryan Giggs and Javier Hernandez, before Nani's strike looked to have earned the visitors a second win at Stamford Bridge in four days, but Eden Hazard coolly converted a last-minute spot-kick to force extra time.

Goals on 98 and 116 minutes by Daniel Sturridge and Ramires effectively made the match safe for the hosts before Giggs struck a late penalty to round off the 5-4 scoreline.

"I am very pleased with the players tonight, who performed on the big stage and will play a big part in our season," Di Matteo told Chelsea's official website. "We showed on Sunday [during the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League] already that we have big characters in the dressing room and we had to show it again tonight.

"We showed big, big heart and passion and pride and didn't want to lose this game. It was a very exciting game of football to watch, a typical cup game, quite open at times and a lot of mistakes from both teams, because there were a lot of young players involved in this game."

Ferguson rues United naivety

Sir Alex Ferguson felt the game was there for the taking until the late penalty award, which he conceded came as a result of a mistake by his own side.

"We gave the ball away for the third goal," the United manager said. "We were in complete control of the match at that point, playing really good football and all we needed to do was see the game out and keep possession.

"Nani decided to try and beat a player, lost the ball and we ended up conceding a penalty kick. It's disappointing [to go out]. Some of our football was terrific.

"Our counterattacking was very good, but if you are winning 3-2 in the final seconds of the game then you should see it out. We only have ourselves to blame."

Brendan Rodgers also had no complaints after witnessing Liverpool, the holders, succumb to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of the club he left for Anfield in the summer, Swansea City.

Goals in either half by Chico Flores and Nathan Dyer put the visiting side in the ascendancy and although substitute Luis Suarez cut the arrears Michael Laudrup's team sealed victory through Jonathan De Guzman to reach uncharted territory in the competition.

"The better team won," said Rodgers. "We were too slow in the first half. The introduction of Luis and Stevie [Gerrard] changed things and we looked more like scoring after that but couldn't get the goal and got done with two breakaways."

"The league is the most important thing, it is the daily bread, but I like the cups because it is pure competition"
Michael Laudrup

Laudrup was delighted. "To beat Liverpool at Anfield and reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the club's history is a fantastic achievement," said the Dane, who started with seven of the players that began the 1-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

"The league is the most important thing, it is the daily bread, but I like the cups because it is pure competition."

Another satisfied English top-flight manager was Chris Hughton, whose Norwich City came from behind to knock out Tottenham Hotspur with two late goals.

The north Londoners looked on course for a place in the last eight after Gareth Bale scored midway through the second half but Jan Vertonghen's 84th-minute own goal and Simeon Jackson's winner three minutes later turned the tie on its head. To compound the visitors' misery Clint Dempsey's 88th-minute penalty was saved by Mark Bunn.

"Sometimes you need a little fortune, and the first goal was clearly a deflection, but we haven't had one of those all season," said Hughton, who was rewarded for bringing on three attack-minded players.

"As for the substitutions, sometimes you have to try and force the issue, and it had been a cagey game until they scored. I just wanted to bring a little energy into our game."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, on the other hand, was left frustrated at his side's failure to see the game out. "It's a pity to see the game slip from our hands and we're disappointed," he said. "When it comes to conceding late goals we have to do better – it's something in our mind and we are working on it."

Norwich's reward for victory is a home quarter-final against Aston Villa, while Chelsea travel to Championship outfit Leeds United and Swansea host Middlesbrough, also of the second tier. Arsenal travel to League Two side Bradford City.

Capital One Cup fourth-round results

Wednesday, 31 October
5-4 Manchester United (aet)
Norwich City
2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
1-3 Swansea City

Tuesday, 30 October
Leeds United 3-0 Southampton
5-7 Arsenal
0-1 Middlesbrough
Swindon 2-3 Aston Villa
Wigan Athletic
0-0 Bradford City (aet; Bradford win 4-2 on penalties)

Capital One Cup quarter-final draw

Leeds United v Chelsea
Swansea City v
Norwich City v Aston Villa
Bradford City v Arsenal

Ties to be played week commencing 10 December.

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Key Points

  • Chelsea reach quarter-finals of Capital One Cup with 5-4 victory over Manchester Utd
  • Swansea City reach quarter-finals for first time after eliminatng holders Liverpool
  • Norwich City late show sends Tottenham Hotspur tumbling out of competition