Chelsea FC manager Guus Hiddink was thrilled at an "unexpectedly wide margin of victory" in the 3-1 win at Liverpool FC, for whom Rafael Benítez was left to rue the defensive mistakes that led to their first-leg downfall.
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Chelsea FC manager Guus Hiddink was beaming with pride after two Branislav Ivanović goals and a Didier Drogba strike ensured a 3-1 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg win at Liverpool FC, who had led early on through Fernando Torres. While Hiddink spoke of his happiness at an "unexpectedly wide margin of victory", his opposite number Rafael Benítez was left to ponder the task awaiting his team at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Guus Hiddink, Chelsea manager
I'm very disappointed with not scoring more goals! But to be serious, to play Liverpool at Anfield is always a hard job; recently it's been almost impossible to beat them here. I'm very happy with the unexpectedly wide margin of victory. We started sloppily and had work to do in our defensive play. We made some slip-ups and they scored first after six minutes. Straight after we had two big chances to get the equaliser and my compliments go to the team for the way they reacted. We always know we can score, so it's good to see the way they reacted when 1-0 down. Normally teams are happy with a draw at Anfield but we felt we could do more and so went for the second goal, which we got, and then the third. If you feel that opponents can be hurt in some area of their team, you're stupid not to go for that. The team smells that and that's good, it's also about the team's spirit. This is not a team which likes to sit back and conserve a result. We'd talked about it at half-time. [Suspended John Terry] will miss the next game, but we've got good players who can replace him. We'll have to be very concentrated in the next leg. We can't take them lightly because Liverpool have proven in the past they can come back.
Ivanović is a very determined guy. It's not easy when not playing frequently but he kept training with a very good mentality. It's good to see someone with his determined mentality. Liverpool have a zonal defence at defensive corners and have no [man-]marking. We have tall players with good timing who are very brave in the area. We talked about that and we got a lot of benefits from set-pieces. Of course you have to analyse where their weapons and arms are, with the combinations between [Fernando] Torres, [Dirk] Kuyt, [Steven] Gerrard and their right full-back. [Michael] Essien was key in this, not just simply by following Gerrard, because the full-backs also picked him up when he went wide, but by being the man who started our attacking moves. I enjoy working with this team. Sometimes you have to make changes to a team when you take over but it's not the case with Chelsea. I can challenge these players and they can challenge each other in a positive way. I can do that and that's why it's great to work with these guys.
Rafael Benítez, Liverpool manager
We scored the first goal and were doing well but after that we were not in control. We conceded from a corner but did not do our job well. They've got five or six players who are very good in the air but [the first goal] was a free header so that was our mistake. We had three players around him but it was a free header. In the zonal system you have to control all the spaces but we didn't do that, so it was our fault. We've got a big game on Saturday, then we'll think about the second leg. It's very difficult but we can still do it, but we have to score three goals down there.
It wasn't a surprise [that Chelsea kept on attacking after equalising]. Chelsea are a very strong team, they've won eleven games away in the league I think. You have to play very well to beat them and we started well but after that we didn't play to our level. Losing is always difficult, especially in this competition. Now we must forget this as soon as possible and think about Blackburn [Rovers FC], then about Chelsea. It'll be tough, but we need to focus on our next game. The priority now is Blackburn, we'll try and beat them and then after that we will see how we approach Chelsea. We'll have [Javier] Mascherano for the next game, after he was missing today through suspension.