We played very well in the first half and opened them up a number of times but we were put under pressure a bit after the break and that was when we dug in and produced a battling display.
We were hanging on a little bit at the end but it’s always good to get results and in English football sometimes you have to grind them out rather than play great football, so we were very satisfied with the win in that respect.
We approached the Chelsea game knowing it would be difficult and that was certainly the case. I was suspended and was obviously disappointed with that, so I ended up watching the game in the stands along with Dean Richards who was cup-tied. His was a massive loss on the night as he’s been so good since he arrived.
But the lads that came in did very well, particularly Anthony Gardner in defence. After going a goal down early on, we seemed to control the game and from where we were in our seats it looked like we could go on and win it.
Les got a lovely goal and we were playing well but when you’ve got a player of the calibre of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in your team, you’re always capable of producing goals out of nothing which is exactly what Chelsea did. His was an unbelievable free-kick which flew into the top corner but having said that we are still in the tie.
We’ve got the away goal which was important and it holds us in good stead to go and attack the game in the second leg.
It was very disappointing to lose Steffen Freund. He’s been doing a great job for us in midfield this season. His serious injury is a big blow to us and will keep him out for a long while, so we wish him a speedy recovery.
We had the chance to get back on track in our last league game against Ipswich and we probably should have done. We dominated the game but were disappointed to lose two goals from set-pieces the way we did. But it just shows you what can happen in the Premier League.
They were bottom a few weeks ago and although we set them on their way here just before Christmas, Ipswich have climbed away from there and have shown that any team can beat any other on their day. That’s why this league is so exciting.
I’d like to welcome Everton to the Lane today. Their main attraction will obviously be Paul Gascoigne because he is such a character. I had many great years playing alongside him with England and it’s great to see him back playing his football again.
And I’d also like to give a special mention to Jesper Blomqvist as well, who I spent a couple of good years with at Manchester United. Injuries meant he hardly kicked a ball for two years as he kept breaking down in comebacks so from a footballers’ point of view it’s great to see him playing again, he’s a nice fellow who deserves a bit of luck.
It was amusing to see him score the other week and celebrate in his customary way, with his sleeves over his arms shaking his wrists like he did at United, it always used to get a giggle. It’s nice to see him back, although hopefully he won’t have too much to celebrate this afternoon!
After a few indifferent results over the Christmas period it was imperative we got a positive result in our last home game here against Blackburn and although it wasn’t the most convincing performance, it was a good result from a team aspect.