MALOUDA: FINISHING POINT

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

He came within inches, or as he would describe it, centimetres of winning Tuesday night's game in stoppage time and although the team left Belgium with just a point from a game they were expected to win, Florent Malouda would be more concerned if they weren't creating chances.

Having beaten Genk 5-0 at home two weeks earlier, once Ramires had broken the ice with a first-half goal in the away meeting, all was looking good for the win that would have put Chelsea in a very strong position to claim top spot in the Group E.

But then David Luiz's missed penalty meant an opportunity to double the lead before half-time was passed up and after the Belgian champions had equalised in the second half, no-one went closer to finding a winner than Frank Lampard when he diverted a Daniel Sturridge cross wide from close range - until Malouda's 90th minute lob from an acute angle was cleared off the line.

'I was very, very close,' he told the official Chelsea website shortly after the game.

'I was very unlucky with the path of the ball and I thought it would get more pace when it touched the pitch, but when it did it slowed down and it gave time for the defender to clear the ball. It was very frustrating because that could be the goal that gave us the victory and maybe gave us a better spirit at the end of the game.'

With Valencia winning against second-place Bayer Leverkusen, the group has become tight with three points now covering the top three sides.Genk are three points further back having drawn their two home games.

'Genk played in this game a little bit like the second half at Stamford Bridge,' observed Malouda.

'They didn't want to concede a lot of goals like they did in the first half at Stamford Bridge and they were really compact and they were difficult to play against.

'But we had the possession and we had more chances but the crowd and the atmosphere could help them in some situations and they played a very good game.

'The most difficult thing in football is to create chances,' continued the player who made his 200th appearance for Chelsea in the game.

'After you can always talk about efficiency and that is a matter of confidence, but the basics are there in our play.

'We had the possession of the ball, we played well and of course the bad thing is we have conceded another goal, but we still created chances so if we change and be more clinical then the positive results will be back.

'I would be more worried if we couldn't create chances. Of course it is a bad moment because we don't have the result we expected and our ambition is very high but there is no reason to be in doubt and be negative.

'We have to believe in ourselves and our capacity to change things and we must look forward to the next game to get back to the winning habit, and then everyone would look positive.'