Jose Mourinho said his Chelsea side had contributed to their own downfall as they fell to their first defeat of the Premier League season, 1-0 at Everton.
While the Londoners dominated much of an enthralling encounter and created plenty of clear-cut chances at Goodison Park, Steven Naismith’s headed goal on the stroke of half-time proved decisive and left Mourinho to ponder what might have been.
“I don’t know if I have to say we didn’t deserve to lose or if I say we deserve to lose,” he told Sky Sports. “We were the best team, played the best football, dominated the whole game, had 21 shots -- we risked everything we could. In that sense, we deserve to win the game.
“On the other hand, a team that had 21 shots, who had easy chances to score, made a mistake in the last minute of the first half as the goalkeeper gives the ball away and we concede a goal. Maybe, with that, we deserve to lose.”
Mourinho was asked to offer his assessment of an indifferent Chelsea debut for transfer window signing Samuel Eto’o, who missed chances.
“Eto’o is rusty, of course, but it is not just him,” he said. “We missed big chances to score, but I don’t like to be critical with a player who missed chances, with a goalkeeper who concedes a goal, with a defender that makes mistakes.
“I prefer to analyse the game in the two perspectives I said before. We tried to win the game, did enough to win the game, but we deserve to lose because we didn’t take the chances.”
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was buoyant, reserving special praise for one of his debutants, Manchester City loanee Gareth Barry.
“That was a masterclass from Gareth,” he enthused. “He has not played competitive football, but he arrived full of knowledge and his fitness levels were fantastic.
“Gareth is unique in his profile as a footballer, so we are delighted to have him at the club. He is a perfect influence for Ross Barkley, for James McCarthy and his partnership with Leon Osman was fantastic.
“This win feels really good because it was a special game, special opposition a very good performance. There were many different points to analyse in that game. You could see at the beginning that we tried to get on the ball, tried to impose ourselves, but it is clear that we are still in a transitional period. The fans understand that, as do the players.
“It means we had to defend with intensity and then our character took us down the other end and, in the second half, we kept our composure and offered a threat on the break.
“There is a real pride in the performance, as the awareness that the players showed tactically meant we deserved the three points. “I always said this dressing room had something special. You don't achieve the success they have done over the years without a never say die attitude, professionalism all round.
“On top, you can have different ways of playing, be more patient, but we have a great blend between youth and experience as well.”