HILARIO: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING POSITIVE
Hilario, the man who faced Blackburn's five spot-kicks and saved one from Nikola Kalinic, spoke after Chelsea's Carling Cup exit about the dreaded way to decide a deadlocked tie and the need for an assured approach in the future.
Hopes that the tide of penalty-shoot results had turned in Chelsea's favour at the Community Shield in August were diminished last night as the team exited the Carling Cup.
Unfortunately the failure of Michael Ballack and Gael Kakuta to convert their penalties meant Hilario's single save was not enough. It was a familiar feeling for Chelsea fans.
Prior to our penalties victory against Manchester United at Wembley, we had endured five successive competitive shoot-out defeats since the last win at Ipswich, in a League Cup quarter-final in January 1998.
'That is a reality but it was something we needed to deal with,' said Hilario following the latest defeat.
'It is always a lottery and the luck has not been with us but we need to be positive the next games and if a penalty shoot-out happens again, we need to believe that it will change.
'It is a moment when you need to put together a lot of feelings,' he explained. 'You need to be focussed and you need to be relaxed.
'I understand when, after 120 minutes hard work, players don't think so well as when they are fresh but as I said, it is something we need to deal with.'
For poor Kakuta, taking his penalty under the intense first team spotlight, it must have been horrible seeing Paul Robinson save knowing there was no way back. Hilario is confident the 18-year-old will ride through the emotions successfully.
'It is important for Gael to think to the future and to forget this. Basically he likes to work so in the next training session he will have completely forgotten this situation.'
Nor does our Portuguese keeper believe a rare set-back for Chelsea can be taken as sign of weakness as we concentrate on the three remaining competitions.
'We played extra-time with only 10 players against a Premier League side and we showed all the quality we have. We look forward to playing the next game.'
There will be exclusive reaction from last night's cup tie in Blues News on Chelsea TV at 6.30pm.