Roberto Di Matteo had no regrets about his decision to make eight changes to his Chelsea side despite a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool that ended their hopes of finishing in the Barclays Premier League’s top four.
Having won the FA Cup final against the same opponents on Saturday and with a Champions League final against Bayern Munich still to play, caretaker boss Di Matteo put his faith in a handful of fringe players at Anfield.
But an own-goal from Michael Essien added to efforts from Jordan Henderson, Daniel Agger and Jonjo Shelvey handed the Reds three points, with only a Ramires goal for consolation.
“We’ve come so far because we’ve used all the energy and all the players we have in the squad, that’s the only way to be in the race for fourth until now and qualify for those two finals,” he said. “No regrets, Liverpool is a difficult place to play and we found a very inspired Liverpool side.
“I thought with fresh legs and new energy we could have had a better chance.”
Asked if he felt he had let the chance of fourth spot go, the Italian answered: “We have had 37 games to rack up the points, not just tonight.”
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish offered a positive appraisal of his first full season back in charge after his side secured a sixth home win of the league season.
“We’ve got a bit of silverware back in the cupboard after six years, we’re back in Europe at the first time of asking, we were near to winning the FA Cup final. Not a bad first season,” he said.
“That performance was on a par with a lot of other performances where we’ve not had the result. Tonight we got that.”
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