Potter in awe of Havertz as Sterling says Chelsea match-winner 'knew exactly what he was doing'

By Sports Desk March 07, 2023

Raheem Sterling had full confidence in Kai Havertz's ability to convert a penalty at the second time of asking, even if Chelsea boss Graham Potter could not bring himself to watch.

Havertz needed two stabs at a second-half penalty against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday but kept his nerve on the retake to send the Blues into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 aggregate win.

The Germany international hit the post with his first attempt, but referee Danny Makkelie ordered the spot-kick to be retaken after the VAR adjudged Salih Ozcan to have encroached before Havertz struck the ball.

On his second attempt, Havertz sent the ball the same way as on his first, though this time found the bottom-right corner.

Havertz conceded he was nervous stepping up to the spot for a second time, Sterling – who opened the scoring just before half-time at Stamford Bridge – had no doubt in his team-mate.

Asked if he considered putting himself forward to take over spot-kick duties, Sterling told BT Sport: "The second time definitely, but I've seen Kai shoot penalties so many times in training and bro, I was so confident.

"Even though he missed the first one, he knew exactly what he was doing, he was confident and we knew he was going to put it in the back of the net."

It was perhaps not the same for Chelsea coach Potter, who was unable to bring himself to watch Havertz's second attempt.

"After the first one, I stood up and watched it. So I said 'no, I’m going to sit down now'. Just listened to the crowd and thankfully the noise was there," Potter said on BT Sport.

Asked how much he knew of the controversial decision to award a retake, Potter said: "I knew they’d encroached – our assistant, who's better than the rules than me, explained it. So we got a little bit of luck there, I guess."

While he might not have had the nerve to watch the second spot-kick, Potter was full of admiration for Havertz.

He added: "It was him or Reece [James], to be honest. Sometimes they have to feel it on the pitch.

"Obviously we have confidence in Kai. I wasn't watching it but I was delighted when I heard the roar. Taking penalties is not for me, so I am in awe of anybody [who does]."

Chelsea have now won their last two matches, following a run of just one victory in 11 games.

"We have to [build on it]," said Havertz. "The last few weeks, we lost a lot of games, but the Champions League is an important tournament, the last one we're in, so we have to give everything for that.

"Today we showed character, showed we want to win this competition again. Now we have to also win games in the Premier League."

Sterling said: "It was a massive performance, we had to dig deep, we took our chances. Recently we haven't had the luck, but we felt as a team we knew we could do it. Kai did it in the end."

Related items

  • John Mousinho applauds ‘absolutely incredible’ Portsmouth after promotion John Mousinho applauds ‘absolutely incredible’ Portsmouth after promotion

    John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s “remarkable achievement” after the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

    Pompey looked to be missing their opportunity in front of their own fans when, needing one point to return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, they were 2-1 behind after Devante Cole and John McAtee struck either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

    But the hosts hit back in the final seven minutes with Colby Bishop scoring from the penalty spot and Conor Shaughnessy heading home the winner.

    Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent Sport: “I think once everything settles down it will sink in properly. I’ve never experienced anything like that, the last 15 minutes, it was absolutely incredible.

    “Even at 2-1 down, to get the momentum and the crowd behind us, I am just so proud of the boys. I’m genuinely just so pleased for everyone connected to the football club. They’ve gone through so much.

    “When we got it back to 3-2 I thought we have played so poor, but found a way to win somehow in a game where we really struggled. It really does sum up the boys.

    “A tough night, tough conditions, but they got the job done. It’s hard for me to sum it up, but I get what’s happened over the last 15 years at the club and how difficult it was, on the brink of liquidation, to come back and have a night like this is incredible to be involved in.

    “To be head coach, it is a privilege. Hopefully we can have a few more nights like this.

    “I never could have imagined this happening this quickly. This was obviously the goal at some point, but didn’t think it would happen with two games to go this season. It is a remarkable achievement. That is a serious effort to be crowned champions ahead of some of the big boys in this league as well.”

    Play-off chasing Barnsley, having lost three of their last four games, are four points above seventh-placed Lincoln.

    Boss Neill Collins told the club’s official website: “There are a lot of positives. But the biggest frustration is that all those positives didn’t add up to what I thought would be a deserved victory.

    “We perform like that, we’ll be fine. We’ll win games. It’s just the fine margins. For me, it’s the fine margins that have gone against us the past four or five games.

    “Tonight again, it’s some of our doing. But that’s what we need to concentrate on. That’s what the Football League is all about.”

  • Darren Moore admits lapse of concentration cost Port Vale Darren Moore admits lapse of concentration cost Port Vale

    Port Vale boss Darren Moore blamed his relegation-threatened side’s dramatic 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe on a lack of concentration at the back.

    Vale’s League One existence now hangs in the balance after a late Nigel Lonwijk strike means they are three points from safety with just two games left.

    Wycombe took the lead in the fourth minute when David Wheeler was first to react after Connor Ripley had saved a close-range header from Sam Vokes.

    Wanderers could have been two ahead just moments later as Wheeler again found himself free with just Ripley to beat, only to see his effort drift wide.

    Vale’s only real effort of the first period fell to Ethan Chislett, whose long-range volley was spectacularly pushed over by Franco Ravizzoli in the Wycombe goal.

    The home side began the second period brightly and were level just two minutes after the restart when Chislett slotted past Ravizzoli after finding himself in acres of space.

    But with Vale pushing for that all-important winner in their battle to beat the drop, it was Lonwijk who popped up at the other end to win it for Wycombe and heap more misery on Moore’s men.

    Moore said: “It was disappointing because you don’t want to lose a game in that manner.

    “I really felt like we were in the ascendancy and if we kept our concentration we could get a chance to win the game, but we fell to a really late goal that absolutely knocked the stuffing out of the boys.

    “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb after conceding that early goal and got back into the game early in the second half through Chislett to really give ourselves momentum and hope.

    “I still felt that a chance was going to drop our way but what I didn’t envisage was our lapse of concentration at the back that has led to their goal.

    “We’ve got two games remaining and we know what to do, we’ve got to dust ourselves down and get ready for another tough game on Saturday.”

    Wycombe claimed a second consecutive away win.

    Boss Matt Bloomfield said: “I’m disappointed we weren’t further ahead if I’m honest. We could have been three-up after 10 minutes and could and should have been out of sight.

    “We knew it was going to be a tough game as Port Vale are fighting for their lives and have got some really good players, so to find an early goal and a late winner, I’m delighted.

    “We needed to start the game on the front foot and the game plan was coming off and it wasn’t until the second half that they managed to break us down, but to find the character to go and get the winner was really pleasing.

    “I stood on the touchline thinking this was a war of attrition and it was tough to get out at times, but we had fresh legs on the bench so I’m really pleased with the performance of the whole squad.”

  • Pete Wild fumes at ‘outrageous’ penalty as Barrow held by Crawley Pete Wild fumes at ‘outrageous’ penalty as Barrow held by Crawley

    Furious Barrow manager Pete Wild criticised the award of Crawley’s penalty in his side’s 1-1 draw at the Broadfield Stadium as an “outrageous, ludicrous decision”.

    Striker Emile Acquah headed Barrow into the lead shortly before the interval but Danilo Orsi’s 20th goal of the season from the spot midway through the second half dragged Crawley level and kept them in the play-off places along with their opponents.

    Wild severely criticised referee Sam Purkiss for “taking 20 seconds” to make the penalty decision for a handball by Rory Feeley, and he answered in the affirmative when asked if he thought the linesman had made the decision because the referee had not seen it.

    Said Wild: “We were outstanding, especially with what we’ve gone through (losing three games in a row).

    “It was a classic Barrow performance, solid at the back and threatening on the counter-attack.

    “That was very pleasing but then it’s all ruined by an outrageous, ludicrous decision that was made without any thought.

    “It’s ruined it for us after scoring a great goal.”

    Wild was mystified why referee Purkiss took the time he did in deciding to give a penalty, and added: “It took 20 seconds to make that decision, why was that?

    “There were two more crosses going into the box in that time before the decision was made.”

    Crawley’s point came after two successive defeats and boss Scott Lindsey felt his men did everything they could to try and force victory.

    He said: “We did everything possible to try and win a game of football.

    “We were up against a strong, defensive unit in Barrow and if we perform like that in our last two games we’ll be fine.”

    Seventh-placed Crawley hold a one-point advantage over Walsall and Lindsey believes his side are the “calmest” team in the play-off places owing to them being written off as “relegation fodder” at the start of the season.

    He said: “We are the calmest because we are not supposed to be there. It is still in our hands and we are not worrying about other teams.”

    Lindsey admitted he was “angry” about the booking of midfielder Jay Williams as he claimed Purkiss “booked the wrong player” and Williams will now miss the last two games.

    The former Swindon boss said: “I’m angry about that as Jay has done so well for me.

    “Jeremy Kelly made the foul but Jay won the tackle and yet he was booked. It’s the wrong decision, it’s not fair and should be looked at.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.