Thibaut Courtois drew parallels between the games at Manchester United on Sunday afternoon and the preceding match at home to Barcelona when he analysed our latest result.
In both the Champions League first leg and our upper-table Premier League encounter at Old Trafford, the Blues took the lead through Willian and were playing well. Courtois describes having one testing save to make in each of the games but last Tuesday we conceded an equaliser with quarter-of-an-hour to go and yesterday in the same minute, Man United were allowed to grab a winner.
‘I am very disappointed, I think all the team are,’ stated our goalkeeper on the defeat.
‘The first half [at Old Trafford] we controlled, we dominated them in their home and we played so well. We scored a goal and then we could have had another one and it is annoying to concede another sloppy goal like on Tuesday against Barcelona. So we went in 1-1 at half-time when we should be leading.'
— Thibaut Courtois
‘In the second half they [Man United] started to control the game, it was more equal, and I don’t think they really deserved to win more than us. But that is football and the second half they had more chances but we could have won as well.’
Courtois considered why the second half proved more matched in performance level between the two sides.
‘They maybe changed a bit so as to not let us so much on the ball,’ he said. ‘They dropped back and they kept three men up for the counter-attack, so they had seven plus the goalkeeper to defend so it is always dangerous. You have to prepare the counter-attack well, and we did that well in the first half. The second half they tried to have more possession, we tried as well but it was a bit harder - so it was a more equal game.’
As well as close contests between the top sides on the pitch, it remains tight near the top with six points covering Man United in second place and Chelsea in fifth. Arsenal are a further eight points back but have a game in hand.
‘It stays the same, it is tough,’ says Courtois on the latest state of the quest for Champions League qualification.
‘City are obviously far away but for the second, third and fourth spot there are five teams so it will be hard until the last match of the season. But I think we have enough quality as we saw on Sunday and we showed it against Barcelona. I think we are a very good team but there are some other good teams around us as well.’