Premier League title run-in: Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic admits title is 'going to be difficult to win'

Shock defeat to Sunderland has handed complete control of the league to Liverpool

Chelsea must wrestle back control of their season in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final at Atletico Madrid, according to Nemanja Matic.

Midfielder Matic admitted Chelsea surrendered all the power in the Barclays Premier League title race with Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland.

Loan star Fabio Borini's penalty sealed Sunderland's Stamford Bridge victory on Saturday, handing the striker's parent club Liverpool the upper hand in the title battle.

Chelsea can expect contact from the Football Association on Tuesday over Ramires' apparent elbow in the face of Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson that went unpunished, and assistant coach Rui Faria's sending off for confronting fourth official Phil Dowd.

Matic said Chelsea can ill afford to bemoan their Black Cats defeat if they want to salvage their silverware dreams.

"I can say that we gave our best, I saw after the game that every player was sad because of the result," the 25-year-old told Chelsea TV.

"We tried, we fought until the end for the result, until the last minute, and we were unlucky not to win.

"Everybody knew how important it was for us, this game, but that's football.

"Now we can't do anything, we have to look forward, get focused on the Champions League, because as you know the Premier League title is going to be difficult to win."

 

Jose Mourinho suffered his first home Premier League defeat in 78 games on Saturday, and Chelsea are yet to face leaders Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Former Chelsea midfielder and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet admitted winning at his old stomping ground proved a "special" moment, and may even sway the title destination.

"It could be the key moment for the title," said Poyet, who spent four years at Stamford Bridge in his attacking midfield heyday.

"Everybody's going to be talking about Fabio (Borini) now because he's a Liverpool player.

"He's going to have a few digs from a few friends from Liverpool that's for sure, but I can assure you that we played only for Sunderland, we didn't play for anyone else."

Chelsea will hope goalkeeper Petr Cech will recover from the virus that ruled him out of the Sunderland defeat in time for Tuesday's Atletico trip.

The Blues will also sweat on the fitness of midfielder Eden Hazard, who will need to train on Monday to have any chance of making Mourinho's match squad for the Madrid battle.

Brazilian midfielder Ramires could well have played his last Chelsea game this season too, after appearing to strike Sunderland's Larsson in the face.

Ramires' strike was missed by referee Mike Dean, and the fact the official took no action leaves the door open for the FA to impose a charge.

With his two prior red cards for the season, Ramires could be facing a five-match ban, and that would end his campaign prematurely.

Chelsea assistant coach Faria can also expect FA censure after being sent off for overzealous criticism of fourth official Dowd.

Blues manager Mourinho had to restrain Faria as he lost his cool, even grabbing his assistant by the hair.

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition