Saturday 03 November 2012

Di Matteo blames fatigue for Swansea draw

All the reaction from Saturday's 3pm Barclays Premier League encounters

  • Pablo Hernandez earned a point for Swansea with his late equaliser

  • Bryan Ruiz's free kick gave Fulham an early lead after it went in off Tim Howard

  • Aston Villa's Joe Bennett and Sunderland's Phil Bardsley tussle for the ball

  • Ben Watson stunned the Tottenham fans by opening the scoring for Wigan

  • Bradley Johnson headed in to give Norwich the lead over Stoke

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo blamed his team’s exertions against Manchester United as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Swansea City that prevented them from returning to the top of the Barclays Premier League above the team from Old Trafford.

The Blues looked set to end the week with a win thanks to Victor Moses' 61st-minute header, but were denied by Pablo Hernandez's late equaliser, which also ensured Di Matteo's side surrendered top spot in the table to United.

“We have certainly felt [tired] this week after the two games with Manchester United, including extra-time,” Di Matteo said. "It would have been great to finish off the week with a 1-0 victory. The disappointment is we have conceded a late equaliser.

"We had more of the game and clear chances than Swansea. When the opposition equalises so late on then you tend to think it's a bit lucky. They didn't have any real clear chances, but they scored a quality goal."

"We had more of the game and clear chances than Swansea"
Roberto Di Matteo

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup felt his side deserved a point especially after losing to Manchester City the previous weekend despite a good performance and it came after beating Liverpool in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

"It was a deserved point,” the Dane said. “It was, in many ways, a copy of the game we played last week against Manchester City.

"That time we deserved a point but didn't get anything, we did this time. They had a few goal chances, we had a couple, two or three half chances. There were not that many chances. A point for each was a fair result.

"Their goal was a bit lucky but we came back, got some fresh people on the pitch and really put them under pressure. It was a great goal by Pablo.

"It has been an important week for the club. We have had three different results the last week but three very good performances.”

Villas-Boas concedes Wigan were 'superior'

Tottenham Hotspur manager Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas conceded that Wigan Athletic were the “superior” team after witnessing his side suffer a surprise defeat at White Hart Lane.

"We couldn't recognise ourselves today – Wigan were superior"
Andre Villas-Boas

The north London side went into the match having won five of their previous six Barclays Premier League matches, but they struggled throughout a contest in which the visitors ran out worthy winners following Ben Watson's solitary strike.

"It was maybe our worst performance of the season," said Villas-Boas. "We didn't manage to keep the ball or pass well. We couldn't recognise ourselves today.

"Wigan were superior. Our chances weren't clear cut. There are various reasons why we played like this. The opponents were sharp and aggressive. We kept making mistakes. We played more with the heart rather than the head."

Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for the diligent display from his Wigan side he said were a joy to behold.

"From start to finish it was an impressive performance and we showed exactly what we’re capable of," said Martinez. "I’m sure many people will look at the result and assume we nicked something from the game, but the truth is that we were dominant, the first-half in particular.

"We created three open opportunities which Brad Friedel had to be at his best to stop but the reaction in the second-half was a joy to see, doing the things we had to and towards the end of the game showing great concentration in the box as Spurs came forward.

"There was incredible work ethic from the players and fantastic phases of football which speaks volumes of the mentality and ability of this squad to do that away from home in a place like White Hart Lane."

Moyes shocked by late Fulham fightback

David Moyes was stunned by Everton being held to a 2-2 draw despite overwhelming Fulham throughout today's Barclays Premier League clash at Craven Cottage. Everton, who climb to fourth place in the table, left London with a point after substitute Steve Sidwell fired a 90th-minute equaliser.

"I can't believe we only got a draw out of that, it's incredible," the Everton manager said. "We've played really well this season but that one we should have won. We were terrific at times but couldn't get the goals.

"I'm really frustrated because if I really want to hang on to the boys at the top I need to win these games when they come along. To win away in the Premier League is really hard for any side and we should have won that comfortably but we didn't.

"To win away in the Premier League is really hard for any side"
David Moyes

Fulham manager Martin Jol admitted his side had been taught a lesson, but offered only limited sympathy for Everton failing to claim the reward they deserved.

"It doesn't mean anything in football if you don't score the goals," Jol said. "They dominated us, all we could do was try to be positive. They are a very good footballing team. They are a settled team and know exactly what to do.

"Normally we are a good team, but I couldn't see that today. Although we took the lead I still felt they were stronger. The only positive thing I can say is that we never gave up."

Hughton relieved

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton felt his side should have allowed him to breathe easier before edging past Stoke City 1-0 at Carrow Road. Bradley Johnson scored the only goal when he headed in at the end of the first half.

"You cannot be too disappointed when you have won the game, but we could have made life better for ourselves," Hughton said. "We needed to put a little more pressure on them, we could have done better when we had the ball and had two very good chances apart from scoring the goal.

"It is disappointing to come away with nothing"
Tony Pulis

"We should have pressed more, but that takes a lot of energy, especially when you are playing against a team like Stoke. But we dealt with it very well and apart from Kenwyne Jones' header we restricted them to a couple of half-chances."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has seen his side win just once in the league this season and he felt they deserved more from the match.

"[Goalkeeper] Asmir [Begovic] did not really have many saves to make and in the second half, I thought we played like the home team," said Pulis. "We had the two best chances of the game, and they have got to be scored. It is disappointing to come away with nothing."

Lambert hails Benteke

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert praised his forward Christian Benteke after his side won 1-0 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The Belgium forward set up the only goal, knocking down the ball for Gabriel Agbonlahor to score.

"I have always said he is playing in a Belgian national team at the minute that is top class, and he is in there on merit,” Lambert said. "He is playing extremely well and since he has come to this football club, he has been a revelation for us.”

"Since he has come to this football club, he has been a revelation for us"
Paul Lambert

Lee Cattermole's 84th minute effort that was saved Brad Guzan was Sunderland's only serious attempt on goal on another frustrating afternoon for Martin O'Neill's men, who are still searching for their first win the Barclays Premier League this season.

"We threw just about everything at them to try to get on the scoresheet, but it eluded us today again,” the Sunderland manager said. “But it will turn."

You can catch up with all the action with a full report, detailed minute-by-minute updates, statistics as well as the best photos on premierleague.com's Matchday Live.

Fulham 2-2 Everton | #FULEVE | Matchday Live >>

Norwich City 1-0 Stoke City | #NORSTK |  Matchday Live >>

Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa | #SUNAVL | Matchday Live >>

Swansea City 1-1 Chelsea | #SWACHE | Matchday Live >>

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Wigan Athletic | #TOTWIG | Matchday live >>

West Ham United 0-0 Manchester City | #WHUMCI | Matchday live >>

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Key Points

  • Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo blames tiredness for 1-1 draw at Swansea City
  • Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas admits his side were outplayed in 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic
  • Everton manager David Moyes shocked by Fulham fightback in 2-2 draw