• Premier League: What They Said

Romeu injury sours Chelsea win

ESPN staff
December 8, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Fernando Torres was on target twice for Chelsea © PA Photos
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Chelsea claimed their first win in the Premier League under Rafael Benitez with a 3-1 victory at Sunderland and the Spaniard feels the changes he is making are starting to pay off. He said: "The team was focused, concentrated, the commitment has been there in the training and little by little we are adjusting things. The winning mentality, attacking mentality that we were looking for was there, and in the second half we defended as a united group, helping each other, so there are a lot of positives."

Chelsea head off for the World Club Cup and they may travel to Japan without Oriol Romeu on account of injury.

Benitez said: "He has gone to London and we are waiting to hear from the doctor. When the player leaves the pitch limping and we are flying to Japan straight away, it makes things difficult. As it stands, he won't be flying with us."

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill felt there were positives to take from his side's 3-1 loss to Chelsea. He said: "It was a fantastic effort by the team and I think that effort was appreciated by the crowd. I thought we should have got something out of the game. We put our heart and soul into the game. The penalty kick just before half-time was a major setback for us and their third goal just after half-time made it a real struggle for us to get back in the game, but we managed to do just that. The players are very disappointed; there's still plenty of fight in the dressing room."

Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over West Brom. Two Mikel Arteta penalties were the difference, although the first was somewhat contentious.

Santi Cazorla's penalty caused upset to West Brom © Getty Images
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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was delighted with his team's display but felt they may have been fortunate for Santi Cazorla's penalty. He said: "I feel overall we played well. We were a bit lucky maybe on the first penalty because he could have given it or not given it. For the rest we created many chances, kept a clean sheet and have shown a great spirit, which many people questioned after our last game. That's all we could do, we did our job very well."

When asked about the Cazorla penalty, Wenger said: "I am sorry if it was not a penalty but I have spoken to Santi and he said he has been touched and lost his balance. Maybe he made more of it, I don't know. But he told me just after I came to see you [the press], I asked him the question because I knew you would ask me the question.

"It's a difficult decision, it can go against you, it went for us today. That's what it is. What I mean is, when he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty. Of course [I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched]. I will look at it, don't worry."

West Brom slipped to their third defeat on the spin and manager Steve Clarke felt they did not get the rub of the green with the penalty calls.

"I think we were hard done by," Clarke said. "There was clear daylight between Steven Reid and Santi Cazorla for the first penalty. There was a penalty for us for a Per Mertesacker handball but he gave a free kick the other way. It was the easy way out when you come to a big stadium and the crowd are on your back.

"I've got no complaints with the second penalty but there was a foul in the build-up. Up until the [first] penalty I thought we had good control defensively but we didn't do enough offensively."

Harry Redknapp's QPR remain winless after drawing 2-2 at Wigan and he feels a win will be needed before January to persuade the club's owners to play in the transfer market.

The Rs boss said: "It we don't win a game or two then I wouldn't ask them to spend any more money. I think it would be unfair to the owners.

"I wouldn't tell them to go and spend big money on a couple more players if we're that far adrift. You've got to be realistic.

"I'm just hoping we can get that win or two and then I'm sure they'll have a go, because they've had a go in the summer. They've done whatever was asked of them and look what they've ended up with.

"It's difficult. I can only work with what I've been given. It's like you've dealt me a hand of cards and this is what I've got. We've left ourselves with a squad that's got no balance to it, we've got no strikers."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez felt R's keeper Robert Green was the difference between his side drawing and winning. He said: "We are disappointed because to concede two goals is always frustrating. I just feel that for us to score a goal we need to be perfect. It would have been all too easy to panic, to lose our composure but I thought we were very mature and we're disappointed that we couldn't get any more because the chances were there.

Jason Puncheon's goal secured victory for Southampton © Getty Images
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"I thought Robert Green had an outstanding performance and in many ways I thought we deserved the three points."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is proud of the way his players rose to the challenge against fellow strugglers Reading today to move out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory.

"It is a good three points for us," the Saints boss said. "It is important to win our home games, especially against the teams close to us in the league.

"I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory today and, in fact, I would have liked us to have scored some more goals from the opportunities we created.

"All-in-all, we've got to be happy with the clean sheet and three points. The players stepped up to the mark."

Brian McDermott's Reading were ultimately second best, but he felt the opening goal made the difference.

"We are disappointed," he said. "We had an opportunity [to win] in the first half and hit the post. "That first goal was always going to be really, really important. They got it. In the second half I didn't really feel we stepped on the way we needed to get three points, never mind one.

"I think it is hard to look and reflect straight after the game. At the moment, you would imagine there would be a lot of doom and gloom around the place after a loss like that.

"I understand that completely because the second half we did not really do ourselves justice, especially with the ball. "We know we have to be better than that and we now have another game on Tuesday to pick ourselves up."

Darren Bent finally got some playing time for Aston Villa © Getty Images
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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is convinced his side will eventually find the back of the net on a more regular basis despite drawing another blank in the 0-0 home draw with Stoke, but the focus was once again on Darren Bent.

Villa have netted only 12 times in 16 Premier League games and even the reintroduction of Darren Bent as a second-half substitute failed to spark a breakthrough against the Potters.

Lambert brought a halt to questions about Bent in his after match press conference after claiming he has already answered enough enquiries about not playing the England international.

He said: "Look, I want to win, it's as simple as that, and on another day we might have got one or two goals and restricted Stoke to one real chance. It (the goals tally) is something I'm not actually overly worried about because I know it will come."

When asked if Bent's inclusion would improve the situation, Lambert said: "The team will. It's not just about one individual, it's about the whole team. There never has been a problem (with Bent) from day one. As I've said before, I just try and pick a team to win. That's what I try to do, it's my job."

When asked whether Bent's presence would improve the goal tally, Lambert said: "Listen, I'm going to stop you. I ain't answering any more questions on it. I told you, I answered about 305 the other night. I'm not answering anymore."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was unhappy with some of referee Roger East's decisions, including the dismissal of defender Ryan Shotton for two yellow card offences.

He said: "As regards the Shotton red card, I've just looked at the incident and we are very disappointed. I was also disappointed with the challenge in the first half (by Clark) and the way that was dealt with.

"When you see a lad getting sent off for two bookables which you can't appeal against, it is very hard to take. You look at the incidents and decide what you think. I don't want to get in trouble again. It has cost me enough money over my career!

"You can't appeal two yellow cards which I find amazing."

Norwich City beat Swansea 4-3 in a thriller and Canaries boss Chris Hughton was delighted with the character his side showed.

He said: "The first half could not have gone better but it was always going to be difficult to sustain that. We did ourselves no favours by conceding so early in the second half, which was always going to give them a lift. But at 3-2 a lot of people who were not here would have expected it to go to 3-3 and become a Swansea win. We had to dig deep and the character we showed at 3-2 with 30 minutes to go was excellent as it was really tough."

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, was pleased with his side's reaction to a poor first half, but did not feel they deserved to get anything out of the game.

"We did not play well in the first half today. We were 3-0 down and obviously we came out and had a great reaction in the second half. We scored two and it could have been three but we had an equaliser disallowed. But overall we did not deserve it today after the first half. I knew there would be reaction one day after all the positive things people have been saying about us. I did not know when it would come but it came in the first half today."

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