Carlo Ancelotti hailed Yuri Zhirkov after his first Chelsea FC goal set the visitors on course for a 2-0 win at FC Spartak Moskva, Nicolas Anelka also scoring to take them three points clear at the top of UEFA Champions League Group F. Home coach Valeri Karpin put the defeat down to his side giving Chelsea too much respect in the first half.
Valeri Karpin, Spartak coach
It's a real pity, but we did not play the way we planned. I believe that happened because we respected our opponents too much, we were a bit scared. Yet the second half showed that we can play against Chelsea, can win challenges in different parts of the pitch and can create scoring chances. Of course, we wanted to get some points tonight, yet we always knew that the key games for us are the ones against Marseille and Žilina.
We could speak about the difference in individual skill only if the teams had been in the same mental condition. It was already obvious before the match that Chelsea were individually better, but primarily we lost the game psychologically.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
I think we played a good game. It was not easy because Spartak played well, especially in the second half. But we established control in the first half, scoring two goals, and then controlled it defensively in the second. We played well at the back, above all Petr Čech, who made some fantastic saves.
It was an important moment for Yuri, coming back to play for Chelsea in Russia. He scored a fantastic goal and will be very happy. He played very well and doesn't have a problem whether playing left-back or on the left of midfield. He scored a very important goal and opened up the game. After that it was easier for us. Anelka showed his qualities and ability up front. He's comfortable playing up there when there's no Didier Drogba. He's a fantastic player and can play in every position across the front line.
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