FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN

Having been in control of the game for long spells at the Madejski Stadium, the Blues, after leading 2-0 with three minutes left on the clock, were forced to settle for a point as Adam Le Fondre came off the bench to score two late goals for the home side.

Juan Mata's 15th goal of the season broke the deadlock just before the break, before Frank Lampard headed home midway through the second half to extend our advantage.

However, our fifth successive away win in the Premier League was denied late on courtesy of Le Fondre, leaving Rafael Benitez to rue costly mistakes.

On the performance
'It's difficult to explain, we were controlling the game for 85 minutes,' he said. 'But from the last free kick we made too many mistakes in one situation that we'd been dealing well with all night. We had chances to finish the game, but we didn't do it.

'Even after they scored the first goal we were still in control, but if we scored three or four goals it changes the game.

'We have to be more clinical and be more aware of defending set-pieces. We did a great job for 85 minutes. We were professional and created chances, they had their first shot after 78 minutes.

'We are all disappointed, we knew that we could be closer and reducing the gap. Everybody has the same feeling; we were in control until the last minute.

'If you play badly and draw, it's a problem, but if you play well and control the game it's about carrying on doing the same things and managing the mistakes.'

On where it went wrong
'
It's not about blaming anyone but we need to analyse why we didn't kill the game and why we made the mistakes, and then work on the training pitch.

'I was really pleased with the players, they were doing a great job, but the little things make a difference. We are still in a very good position in the table but it could be better.

'We did everything we had to do, we had to change Mata because he was limping, and then we brought on Demba [Ba] to hold the ball up and to give Fernando a rest.

'In this game we were so good in terms of controlling and doing what we had to do. Even with the other long balls we were managing well, it was only one.'

On Mata's injury
'He has a problem with his ankle, he needs to see the doctor but we will assess him tomorrow.'

Brian McDermott, meanwhile, didn't feel there was much wrong with our performance, but acknowledged Reading's first goal paved the way for a frantic finish.

'I didn't see a vulnerability in Chelsea,' he said. 'They played well, they had a lot of the ball and made it very difficult for us. We scored, and once we did that we got another goal.

'I saw a side with Lampard, Mata and world-class players all over the pitch, but we've just got a draw against the champions of Europe.'


A clip of Rafael Benitez talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed here with the full interview available now via the channel's online access.