Salut! Sunderland had to improvise a little yesterday. One certainty about Chelsea v Sunderland is that not even the lure of pre-match pints on Parsons Green will lure Pete Sixsmith to London. Bob Chapman stepped in again with the Seven and will be filing a matchday report in lieu of Sixer’s Soapbox. This is Paolo Di Canio‘s first post-match missive, with the sort of tub-thumping encouragement in defeat we’ve become used to – but which was more justified than usual yesterday …
We have sent a clear message today – we are ready for the fight.
The players are a great group – after the first half I thought we deserved to go into the break in front.
We created the best chances; it was a fantastic effort in the first half and we can be happy with that.
You could have predicted losing at Stamford Bridge, as it’s a difficult place to come, but those lads are not happy about it.
They know they did well in the first half and they are disappointed to concede two goals so soon in the second.
The way they were conceded was very strange – and perhaps could have been avoided. Every single mistake at this level will be punished.
Simon [Mignolet] didn’t have to make a save once in the game – at Stamford Bridge that is an incredible feat!
In the last 10 minutes we did lose energy, but for 45 minutes I was very very happy with my players.
Even after Chelsea scored, we didn’t sink and that is important. Our chances were limited after that but I think that is because of physical condition.
I’m very proud and happy after the performance I have seen. Yes, we can do better, but in the second half the players were tired and it was to be expected after a very busy week where they have worked very hard.
I want to thank the fans. They made me feel very emotional, not because they sang my name, but because of their support.
They understood straight away how much work we have put in this week and they came in their numbers to support their team.
We lost the game, but they still clapped their hands because they saw the lads fight for the cause with pride and honour.
We now have Newcastle, Everton, Aston Villa, Stoke , Southampton and Tottenham – for us, these are six cup finals.
All the best,
Paolo Di Canio