LONDON (Sporting Alert) – Chelsea squandered a 2-0 lead and were held by Southampton in the English Premier League on Wednesday. The Blues went up 2-0 on a Demba Ba and Eden Hazard first half strikes.
Watch Video Highlights: Chelsea 2 vs Southampton 2
However, Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon stunned the Blues with second half goals as Rafa Benitez side dropped valuable points at Stamford Bridge.
“We started the second half and didn’t manage the game or have the control we were expecting,” said Benitez on www.chelseafc.com. “We didn’t take our chances when we had them, which gave them hope they could score, and they did.
“At half-time I said we needed a third goal. We made a mistake which gave them a goal and we didn’t take the chances we had.
“I spoke about us needing to be more clinical and tonight it was the same. We didn’t score, gave them belief they could hurt us on the counter-attack and they did it.
“We should have won, but credit to Southampton, they played a good game.”
Following the draw Chelsea failed to make up further grounds on leaders Manchester United, who now hold a 13 point lead over the European champions in the English Premier League standings.
Chelsea remain third in the league table with 42 points, six behind second place Manchester City and two ahead of forth place Tottenham.
Benitez said: “You could see at 2-0, it’s a question of experience and managing the game. We have to stay compact, then they would have had to come and try to find spaces.
“That’s the point we were talking about, stopping them playing on the counter-attack, but that’s what they did, and obviously we have to improve.”
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins commented after the game: “We had several opportunities to clear the ball and we didn’t and we got punished.
“Chelsea 10 days ago also scored just before half-time to go 2-1 up and went on to dominate the second half and we lost five goals.
“Today we came with a game plan to get something from the game, to be compact, to intercept and counter attack, and frustrate Chelsea.
“They scored at a bad time for us and we could have said let’s go and chase it and play two up front, and there is every chance we could have ended up with a scoreline like Aston Villa did when they got beaten by eight here. Today we struck to the game plan.”
There will certainly be a lot of chelsea FC news over the coming weeks and Benitez and Fernando Torres continue to headline the reports.