Courtois: It will be different

There is a degree of regret at Chelsea that we are not heading into the second leg of our Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal with a lead, but it is clear to Thibaut Courtois how we can triumph in the semi-final and make it through to Wembley.

The Belgian remained unbeaten by the Gunners’ attack at Stamford Bridge last night but despite having the better of the game, we could not find the opposition net either, and the balance of the chances to score was discussed by our goalie after the game.

‘It was a good game for us but unfortunately we could not win,’ he said. ‘We could not score a goal but the biggest chances David Ospina saved well and Arsenal only had one big chance which I saved, and I think we could have won but unfortunately we didn’t.

‘The rest of things I had to do were some difficult through balls which you have to be ready for as sometimes they can bounce far ahead and you have to come out, and the high balls I collected, but the rest was more concentration for me and the defenders. We defend well and we were just unlucky not to score and win the game.

‘Against Stoke we scored five goals but against other teams we have maybe missed too many chances,’ he added. ‘Like 2-2 at the Emirates and 0-0 last night and at the weekend against Norwich, maybe we have to score more goals from the chances we create because I think we create enough danger, but we need to finish it as well.’

Courtois gave his assessment of what he expects for the delicately balanced second leg on Wednesday 24 January.

‘I think Arsenal will be a bit more offensive. At Emirates Stadium they always try to play higher up the pitch and suffocate teams, and at Stamford Bridge play a bit more defensively which is their right to try to get the draw and win at the Emirates. So for us it will be a different game, we will have to defend well and then find the space to create chances, but obviously the most important is to score a goal.’

It is likely yesterday’s first leg will be more remembered for being the first Chelsea game to trial the Video Assistant Referee system than for the action on the pitch, and although he said it felt a little strange to have a potential penalty decision refereed to VAR late in the game after there had been a further phase of play, Courtois is positive about its introduction.

‘I think it is good to have technology, especially in key moments. It might be against you, it might be for you. When you can win the game in the last minute with a penalty that is not awarded but then after it is, you will be happy, or if not you will have another feeling.

‘Maybe it takes a bit of time and we will have to get used to it, but you see it in a lot of big sports like NBA and in hockey so I think if it is introduced officially, after a few months and years we will get used to it and then it will be okay.’

On that late decision on Danny Welbeck’s challenge on Cesc Fabregas he said:

‘Obviously they were discussing it. I think there was a little touch but maybe not enough for a penalty so I think the ref gave his assessment on the situation and the other people who are somewhere gave their opinion and with the images it is clear.

‘I think the only thing that is maybe hard for referees is that when you see it in slow motion, everything looks worse and they have to find the balance between what looks in slo-mo like a penalty and what is not.’