Mikel apologizes for Blues blunder

BY foxsports • September 20, 2012

John Obi Mikel apologised for the mistake that cost Chelsea the chance to open their Champions League defence with a win after their 2-2 draw with Juventus.

The holders blew a two-goal lead at Stamford Bridge, with a pair of defensive blunders costing them dearly against the Italian champions.

Having allowed Juve to get back into the Group E clash before half-time, Chelsea looked set to eke out a 2-1 win before Mikel needlessly gave the ball away 10 minutes from time.

He then failed to prevent Claudio Marchisio playing Fabio Quagliarella into space for the equaliser, with David Luiz also all at sea.

"If I want to make up an excuse, I can," Mikel said. "But, for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on. I'm sorry about the mistake, but there are no excuses."

Manager Roberto Di Matteo admitted Chelsea only had themselves to blame and Mikel added: "I think that's what you get from playing in the Champions League. You make a mistake, you get punished for it.

"I think we looked so good all throughout the game, except when it was 2-2. We just lost our head."

Substitute Quagliarella also came within a lick of paint of completing what would have been a sensational turnaround, with Chelsea's performance suggesting becoming the first team to defend the Champions League might just be the mission impossible Di Matteo had predicted.

Di Matteo did prove his Midas touch in the competition was still there, however, when his surprise decision to hand a full debut to Oscar paid off spectacularly.

The £25million man opened the scoring via a deflection before producing a glorious second goal just two minutes later.

Oscar said afterwards: "I was very happy to score my first goal in the Champions League and my first goal at Chelsea. The first one, the ball deflected, so I was a bit lucky."

Insisting there was nothing fortunate about his second, he added: "I was playing very well, so I could score this beautiful goal and I'm very happy with this debut."

That was despite it being curtailed after he was trod on by Leonardo Bonucci, something that prompted Di Matteo to back calls for UEFA to study the incident.

"If UEFA has a look, then good," he said, revealing Oscar had suffered an ankle knock that would be assessed on Thursday.

Di Matteo, who was also unhappy with Pedro Proenca's decision not to award a penalty to Eden Hazard when the score was still 2-1, said the same of Daniel Sturridge, who missed Wednesday night's game with a hamstring injury.

He added: "He won't be out for long."

Juventus' fightback showed just why they had gone 42 Serie A games without defeat.

Assistant boss Massimo Carrera said: "We could have won it, we could have lost it, but that's football.

"We stepped it up and we just proved tonight we can play European competition at this level."