Thibaut Courtois: Chelsea missed Branislav Ivanovic in the final seconds at Old Trafford

Serbian defender had been marking Marouane Fellaini before red card

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The Independent Online

Thibaut Courtois says Chelsea missed Branislav Ivanovic after his sending off at Old Trafford – because he was the one who had been marking Marouane Fellaini throughout the match.

Fellaini rose to head Angel Di Maria's cross goalwards in the 94th minute of the match and though Courtois, impressive in his first game at Old Trafford and named man of the match, saved, Robin van Persie turned in the rebound.

“We played very well so it’s a pity we couldn’t win,” Courtois told ChelseaTV. “Fellaini was Ivanovic’s man, and he’s very strong, so we missed him.”

The 22-year-old, who has replaced long-serving Petr Cech as Jose Mourinho’s No 1 after three years on loan at Atletico Madrid, praised Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season, even if Robin van Persie’s late goal saw them drop two points.

He added: “We’ve started very well; if you’d said at the start of the season that, after nine games, we’d be top, four points ahead of Southampton and six ahead of Manchester City we would have taken it, but we should have won this game so it’s a pity.

“There are still 29 games to play so it’s a very long season but we’ve already played away at Manchester City and United, and we’ve had two good results.”

Chelsea team-mate Filipe Luis, who played 90 minutes for the first time in blue, added that “everybody was disappointed” in the final result.

Ivanovic.jpg
Ivanovic had been marking Fellaini before his red card

“We played fantastically and controlled the game in the second half,” said the Brazilian, who came in for the suspended Cesar Azpilicueta. “When they score a goal like that of course it’s difficult, but they celebrated one point at their home ground so we have to be proud. We haven’t lost yet, the team is improving all the time and we have to keep it up.

“We feel we could have won the game, we had a lot of chances to score and good combinations on the ball. In the last moment they had the set-piece and scored, but that’s football, these things can happen.”

“I really enjoyed it and now I’m looking forward to the next game,” he said. “I’m ready to play when the manager needs me.

“Everybody is disappointed because of the goal but at the same time we’re happy because we played a great game and we’re still top of the table.”

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