Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 4: We tried to win it for Petrov – Alex McLeish

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish admits it was a shame his side were unable to beat Chelsea and dedicate a win to Stiliyan Petrov

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Premier League, 31 March 2012, Villa Park
team1
Aston Villa
2 - 4
team2
Chelsea

Alex McLeish admitted he was disappointed Aston Villa were unable dedicate a victory to Stiliyan Petrov after Chelsea held on to secure three points from their trip to Villa Park on Saturday.

Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia on Friday, and the 32-year-old watched on from the stands as goals from James Collins and Eric Lichaj cancelled out Chelsea’s two-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining.

But the visitors responded, with Branislav Ivanovic netting his second of the game to give the Blues a slender advantage before Fernando Torres struck on the stroke of full-time to seal a vital win for Chelsea.

“The players responded well, Stan came in to see us before the game, we gave him a hug, and said it’d be nice to win it for Stan,” said McLeish.

“We gave everything, it’s a shame we’re not talking about a win as we felt we had Chelsea on the ropes.

“It was quite an emotional moment, a show of strength and support from the Villa fans.

“We’ve got to support Stan, he’s started his recovery, and I’m sure he can fight it and beat it.”

Chelsea surged into a first-half lead when good interplay between Juan Mata and Torres provided Daniel Sturridge with a simple close-range finish.

The Blues then extended their advantage in the 51st minute when Villa failed to adequately clear Mata’s corner and Ivanovic poked his finish past Shay Given.

McLeish’s side offered very little but remarkably found themselves level 10 minutes from time after Collins and Lichaj scored in a frenetic four-minute spell.

But Chelsea hit back and Ivanovic netted from another corner before Torres raced onto Sturridge’s pass and squeezed his finish past Given in the 88th minute to secure the win.

“I thought it was an exciting game, we controlled it very well apart from five minutes,” said Chelsea caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo.

“I credit the opposition with playing well. We conceded from a long throw but we thoroughly deserved to win.

“We were dominating the game, controlling it and a third goal could’ve killed it off earlier but credit to Villa. Historically it has proven a difficult place to come for us.

“We’re delighted to score four goals and apart from five minutes we were a good team.”

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Maurizio Sarri demands more from his Chelsea FC stars
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Laver Cup 2018
The Sport Review
Laver Cup 2018: Federer and Djokovic bond on and off court amid post-victory Europe euphoria
The Sport Review
Paul Pogba sends message to Man United fans about Alexis Sanchez
The Sport Review
Maurizio Sarri delivers update on Pedro after Chelsea FC draw with West Ham