FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: MUST COUNTER THE COUNTER

After the match at Newcastle, Rafael Benitez highlighted two main aspects contributing to defeat from a game in which Chelsea had played well for prolonged spells.

Fine goals by Frank Lampard and Juan Mata gave the Blues a 2-1 lead by midway through the second half. But then we were caught on the break and Moussa Sissoko scored twice to win it for the home side, and it was the manner of those goals and injury to Demba Ba that were the main talking points.

Our Senegalese striker had to go off near the end of the first half having been kicked in the face by Fabricio Coloccini. He suffered a broken nose which bled for five minutes reported the manager. He will see a specialist before an estimation can be given for length of any time out.

'It was a penalty and a red card for me,' Benitez stated.

'In the middle of the park, an incident like that is carry on, then go back and a free-kick. In the penalty area it is carry on, then go back and then a penalty and a red card.

'We lost a player with a broken nose, used a substitution but we had a great reaction in the second half, but it wasn't enough. '

On Chelsea's second-half display…
'The reaction was fantastic, we scored great goals, had chances but we made the mistake in allowing Newcastle to play counter-attack, and it is something we have to improve.

'We didn't stop them winning the second balls when they were clearing. We have to manage the situation better, but still the players did a great job second-half. We have been playing well in a lot of games. I'm really pleased with the effort in the game but we have to improve the way we manage the game, we have to show more experience.'

Looking ahead…
'The character the players showed in the second half shows something is right. If we cannot control these games then it is something we have to improve, but today we had a good reaction that was positive and next week we have players that are coming back. Hopefully we can play well and win and carry on.

'Every single game we had good chances, we have played good football in the majority of them, and when we couldn't we still had chances to win.

'The team has good team spirit and I am confident we will finish in the top three.'

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew predicted the match would prove to be the best he will witness all season.

'It was a fabulous game,' he said. 'When you play the top sides it is important to knock them off their stride and put them under pressure.

'We got the goal but the second half Chelsea came out and showed what fabulous players they have. We were struggling for 10 or 15 minutes and they scored two fabulous goals. That can knock the stuffing out of a team and they fold, but we wouldn't let that happen.'

A clip of Rafael Benitez's post-match interview can be seen above with the full interview available via the channel's online access.