Southampton 2 Chelsea 1: We lacked intensity, admits Rafael Benítez
Southampton 2 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benítez frustrated by his side's slow start as Saints deliver blow to Blues' top-four hopes
Rafael Benítez was left frustrated by Chelsea’s slow start to the game as Southampton dealt a blow to the Blues’ Champions League qualification hopes with a surprise win at St Mary’s.
“In the first half we didn’t have the intensity we were expecting, we improved a lot in the second half and created some chances but we didn’t make the right decisions in the final third,” said Benítez.
The home side took the lead in the 23rd minute with a neat finish, but Chelsea captain John Terry headed home Marko Marin’s corner to bring the visitors level.
However, Rickie Lambert’s free-kick restored the hosts’ advantage less than two minutes later and Mauricio Pochettino’s men held on to secure a shock victory.
The result allowed Tottenham to leapfrog Chelsea into third place in the Premier League table, with Arsenal now just two points behind the Blues, who are fourth.
“We have a game in hand on Tottenham,” added the Chelsea interim boss.
“We have to carry on and be ready for the next challenge. We don’t have too many options in some positions so we have to manage the squad.
“We are really disappointed. We were giving the ball away too easily. The players playing today were playing to be in the Champions League next season.”
Chelsea face Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Stamford Bridge on Monday afternoon.