Hansi Flick has no interest in what the future holds for him at Bayern Munich beyond the international break.

Caretaker boss Flick saw Bayern coast to a convincing, if uninspiring, 2-0 win over Olympiacos in his first match since stepping in to replace Niko Kovac, who was dismissed following a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend.

Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Erik ten Hag and Ralf Rangnick have all been linked with the full-time vacancy.

Flick, though, says his own situation is not important and his focus is purely on preparing Bayern for a huge Klassiker clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

"That does not interest me at all, what happens after Saturday," he said about his role in quotes reported by TZ.

"I enjoy it because the team works brilliantly. That's why we are preparing well or Saturday."

Bayern's victory secured their progression to the last 16 with Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic on target in the second half after a lacklustre opening.

Flick added: "In the first half we made the wrong decision more often but in the end we were rewarded.

"I'm very happy with the performance. The situation hasn't been easy for the team. We implemented what we worked on in training."

Thomas Muller was not entirely satisfied with Bayern's reply to their Frankfurt humiliation and was also reluctant to discuss Flick's future beyond the weekend.

"We have before the international break the most important game of the season. Such topics do not concern us," Muller said when asked about Flick.

"I am not relieved. We won dominantly at home but we were lacking a bit in brilliance."

Olympiacos had Jose Sa to thank for keeping the score to 2-0 and visiting coach Pedro Martins praised the performance of his goalkeeper.

"Bayern pressured us a lot, constricting us on the pitch. We should have been faster in order to escape their stranglehold," he said. 

"They didn't let us play as well as we did in Piraeus. Thankfully we had Jose Sa to stop them scoring more. 

"We lost many balls. I was expecting more from my team. We could have done better."

Douglas Costa revealed Maurizio Sarri told him just "to enjoy the game" before he came on and scored the winner that sent Juventus into the Champions League last 16.

The Bianconeri booked their spot in the knockout phase with a 2-1 win at Lokomotiv Moscow, though they needed a brilliant 93rd-minute goal from Costa to get the three points required.

Aaron Ramsey put Juventus ahead in the third minute - poking in on the line after goalkeeper Guilherme had spilled Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick back towards his goal - but Aleksey Miranchuk soon cancelled out the Wales international's opener.

Ronaldo was frustrated in his attempts to break a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different opponent, yet Costa was able to find a way through, weaving through some desperate tackles and slotting a finish between Guilherme's legs following a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain.

Asked by UEFA.com what Sarri had said to him before he came on with 20 minutes to go, Costa replied: "He said I just have to enjoy the game and help my team-mates to the victory. I did that."

It was Costa's first goal since January, with injury problems restricting the 29-year-old to only four Serie A starts since January.

"It was a really hard game but we played very well," added the former Shakhtar Donetsk winger.

"It is very cold here but my team-mates were amazing. We kept calm and in the end we scored the second goal.

"I played a lot of years in Ukraine. I was ready for this game.

"This was a really important game because I have been out for a long time but I have come back and helped the team."

It was far from a vintage performance by Juventus, summed up by Ronaldo failing to score from any of his eight shots - as was the case the previous time Juventus played Lokomotiv.

Yet captain Leonardo Bonucci, who cleared off his own line before Costa's winner, was pleased with the spirit his side showed.

"I think our team adapts well to the kind of football that is needed in every situation," the defender said.

"We play the football our coach loves most of the time but we are also ready to suffer together when we have to."

Lokomotiv came away empty-handed and former Juventus loanee Benedikt Howedes admitted it was a moment of magic from Costa that proved to be the difference.

"The goal was because of the individual quality that Douglas Costa has," he added.

"We deserved more today but sometimes this is the way of football. Sometimes the individual quality wins."

Douglas Costa sent Juventus through to the last 16 of the Champions League with a brilliant 93rd-minute winner in a 2-1 away victory over Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Bianconeri were ahead after just three minutes when Aaron Ramsey nudged the ball over the line after goalkeeper Guilherme had spilled Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick back towards his goal.

However, Lokomotiv soon hit back through Aleksey Miranchuk and Guilherme denied Ronaldo twice in the second half as the Portuguese attempted to set a Champions League record by scoring against a 34th different team.

It was not to be Ronaldo's night as he was replaced with nine minutes to go, yet Costa stepped up to be the hero, weaving in off the left wing and finishing after a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain.

Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic were on target as Bayern Munich started the post Niko Kovac era with a 2-0 win over Olympiacos that secured qualification for the Champions League last 16.

A humiliating 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday brought an end to Kovac's 16-month tenure and caretaker boss Hansi Flick saw his side frustrated for large parts by Jose Sa.

The visiting goalkeeper made several sharp stops and Benjamin Pavard hit the post, but Lewandowski's sixth goal of the group stage broke the away side's resolve.

Substitute Perisic made sure of the points late on meaning Bayern are guaranteed to progress from Group B, leaving Flick to now prepare Bayern for a crucial Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Thomas Muller saw a couple of half shouts for penalties turned down either side of Sa reacting sharply to a low Leon Goretzka drive as Bayern started brightly.

David Alaba's untimely stumble allowed Olympiacos a rare sight at goal but Lazar Randjelovic dragged wide of the right post.

Lewandowski headed Pavard's pin-point cross straight at Sa, who was also alert to deny Kingsley Coman's improvised toe poke after a mazy run.

Pavard's awkward effort off his chest struck the post at the end of the half and Sa made a fine save from Goretzka's point-blank header shortly after the restart.

Sa was called into action again by Coman's stinging effort, but he was finally beaten in the 69th minute when the France winger's teasing low delivery from the right was cutely steered home by Lewandowski at the front post.

A more deserved-looking scoreline arrived in the final minute when Perisic rifled high into the roof of the goal after Coman's deflected cross fell into his path.

What does it mean? Bayern show much-needed resolve

After the Frankfurt humiliation, Bayern needed a reply and – while it was not the most fluent performance – they were good value for a fourth win in as many Group B games. It was a decent show of resilience, but the club will be keen to have a new permanent boss at the helm soon.

You were Sa unlucky to be on the losing side, Jose

Olympiacos offered little going forward and were content to try and contain Bayern's heavyweight attack. But had it not been for Sa the scoreline would have been much more comfortable, with the away goalkeeper unlucky to finally be beaten by Lewandowski, who has scored 31 group-stage goals since joining Bayern in 2014 – no player has more in the same time (Lionel Messi also has 31).

Negative Martins pays the price

With Bayern still reeling from their Frankfurt horror show and Olympiacos on just one point with nothing to lose, it was a bit of a surprise to see visiting boss Pedro Martins go with three defensive-minded midfielders. It led to a drab showing from the away side, who perhaps missed a chance to have a real go at the wounded hosts.

What's next?

Bayern now switch focus to a crucial Klassiker as Dortmund travel to Munich on Saturday, while their next Champions League assignment is at Red Star Belgrade on November 26. Olympiacos welcome Atromitos on Sunday.

Aaron Ramsey scored a landmark goal for Juventus on Wednesday, as his opener against Lokomotiv Moscow marked the Serie A club's 300th in the Champions League.

Ramsey, making his first start since September, put Juve ahead three minutes into the Group D contest in Russia when he capitalised on a mistake from goalkeeper Guilherme, who had failed to keep out Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick.

Juve are the fifth team to reach 300 goals in the competition, joining Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United in an elite club.

The lead was short-lived for Maurizio Sarri's side, however, with Aleksey Miranchuk pulling Lokomotiv level with a deft header nine minutes later.

Former UEFA president Michel Platini said Paris Saint-Germain "could be called Coca-Cola" as he questioned the Ligue 1 champions' identity in an outburst over wealth in modern football.

Platini served as the head of UEFA for eight years but was suspended and later banned from all football-related activity in 2015 after an ethics investigation found he received a "disloyal payment" in 2011.

The former Juventus and France midfielder's ban has now ended and he took aim at the money in today's game during an interview discussing the possibility of clubs having quotas to limit the number of foreign players in their teams.

"Today, you buy all the best players and you win," Platini told France Info.

"Everything is based on wealth - money kills a philosophy of football.

"When you are UEFA president, you want everyone to participate in your competitions, and that everyone has a chance to win them. It is a bit complicated at the moment."

Platini went further by citing the example of PSG, who have won the Ligue 1 title in six of the past seven seasons having become one of the world's richest clubs when Qatar Sports Investment purchased the team in 2011.

Paris-born forward Kylian Mbappe was the league's top scorer in 2018-19, which was PSG's first season under former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.

"The president is Qatari, the sports director [Leonardo] is Brazilian, the coach is German [Tuchel], there is a Frenchman on the team, [but] why is it called Paris Saint-Germain?" Platini added.

"There are 40,000 people, a lot of people who love the club. [But] it could be called Coca-Cola or anything."

Napoli have threatened to punish their own players after Carlo Ancelotti's first-team stars apparently abandoned a week-long training camp.

Tension is building in Naples following a poor run of form that has seen Ancelotti's side win just twice since September, and the experienced head coach risks a UEFA fine after failing to hold a news conference after Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Salzburg in the Champions League.

Furthermore, widespread reports have said the Napoli players went to their homes after the game in an act of open rebellion, rather than return to a training retreat at nearby Castel Volturno that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is thought to have ordered.

De Laurentiis spoke with his lawyers and Ancelotti on Wednesday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, before the club released a statement that indicated punishments could be coming.

Napoli's statement said: "With regard to the behaviour of the first-team squad on Tuesday night, the club announces that it will do everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests.

"The club would also like to make clear that it has entrusted first-team coach Carlo Ancelotti with decision-making responsibility as regards the first-team training camp.

"There will be no more press statements for the foreseeable future."

Napoli, who finished runners-up to Juventus last season in Ancelotti's first campaign at the helm, are seventh in Serie A.

Despite some reports suggesting Ancelotti is on the brink of being sacked, the head coach has received backing from captain and striker Lorenzo Insigne.

"We're a close-knit group and that's down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell," Insigne said.

"We're grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

"We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we're determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games."

Rangnick rejects Bayern

November 06, 2019

Ralf Rangnick is unlikely to be Bayern Munich's new head coach after his agent suggested the Bundesliga champions were seeking a man with different qualities.

Rangnick was the early frontrunner for the vacancy following the departure of Niko Kovac on Sunday, a day after Bayern were thrashed 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt - their heaviest top-flight defeat since April 2009.

Hansi Flick will take the reins on an interim basis for Wednesday's Champions League home meeting with Olympiacos and the visit of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, with president Uli Hoeness hoping to have a clear idea on how the club will proceed by the end of the international break.

But it seems Rangnick, the head of sport and development at Red Bull, will not be a candidate.

His agent Marc Kosicke told Bild: "Ralf Rangnick is not available.

"We do not believe that what Ralf Rangnick brings is currently what is being sought by Bayern. And that's why it makes no sense to hold concrete talks."

Rangnick's rejection could potentially pave the way for Arsene Wenger to move to the Allianz Arena on a deal until the end of the season.

The former Arsenal boss has indicated he would be interested in a move to Germany and could fit the bill on a short-term basis.

Massimiliano Allegri is also a reported target following his successful spell at Juventus.

Bayern sit fourth in the Bundesliga, four points adrift of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but can book a place in the last 16 of the Champions League by defeating Olympiacos.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is chasing another slice of history when Juventus travel to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Tottenham, meanwhile, will hope Harry Kane can continue his wonderful form in the competition against Red Star Belgrade, while Manchester City take on Atalanta at San Siro.

Elsewhere, Kylian Mbappe will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Club Brugge again after he plundered a hat-trick against them two weeks ago.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Wednesday's eight matches.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge

4 - PSG forward Mbappe scored a hat-trick as a substitute against Brugge on matchday three, becoming only the fourth player to achieve the feat in the Champions League. In three games against Belgian opposition, Mbappe averages a goal or assist every 28 minutes.

2 - Emmanuel Dennis scored both of Brugge's goals in their previous Champions League away game against Real Madrid. No player has ever found the net in consecutive matches on the road for the Belgian side in the competition.

Real Madrid v Galatasaray

50 - Karim Benzema is just two Champions League goals short of his 50th for Madrid, with only Lionel Messi (113 for Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (105 for Madrid) and Raul (66 for Madrid) reaching the milestone for a single side. However, Benzema is without a goal in his past four matches in the competition, despite attempting 16 shots across those games.

5 - Galatasaray have failed to score in their past five away Champions League matches, despite attempting 45 shots in that timeframe. The last team to fail to score in six away games in a row were Schalke in November 2010.

Bayern Munich v Olympiacos

13 - Bayern have scored 13 goals after just three Champions League games this season. The only team with more after three games are Arsenal in 2010-11 (14 goals).

10 - Olympiacos have managed just 10 shots on target across their opening three Champions League matches this term – one fewer than Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has attempted.

Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham

6 - Red Star's Marko Marin made six chances in their 5-0 defeat against Spurs on matchday three. No player has created more in the Champions League this season (13, level with Toni Kroos).

18 - Spurs striker Kane has scored 18 goals in just 22 Champions League appearances, including four in three appearances this season. In the history of the competition, the fewest number of matches needed to reach 20 goals is 26, set by Alessandro Del Piero in April 1998.

Atalanta v Manchester City

11 - Atalanta have conceded more Champions League goals than any other team this season (11). Only two teams have conceded more in their first three Champions League games – Slavia Prague (12) and Helsingborgs (13).

5 - Sergio Aguero has found the net in each of his past five away Champions League group stage matches for City (five goals), a run stretching back to September 2017.

Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk

45 - Dinamo's Mislav Orsic is averaging a goal or assist every 45 minutes in the Champions League this season, scoring four and assisting one in just 227 minutes of action. Should Orsic notch in this game, he would have reached five goals in just four appearances, with only Erling Haaland and Didier Drogba having done so in fewer games (three).

22 - Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov has not kept a clean sheet in any of his past 22 Champions League starts. The last goalkeeper to go on a longer such run in the competition was Igor Akinfeev (43) between November 2006 and October 2017.

Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

3 - Leverkusen are one of two clubs to lose their three Champions League games this season, along with Atalanta. They are the first German side to lose their opening three group stage matches since Stuttgart in 2007-08.

3 - Atletico have won three Champions League games against Bayer Leverkusen; they have only won more against PSV (four).

Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus

9 - Lokomotiv striker Eder has been on the losing side in his each of his past nine Champions League starts, dating back to October 2012 for Braga. The last player to lose on 10 consecutive starts in the competition was Junior Fernandes (11) for Dinamo Zagreb, a run that ended in December 2016.

33 - Ronaldo had eight shots without scoring in Juve's 2-1 win over Lokomotiv on matchday three. Should he score in this match, he would break the record for opponents scored against in the Champions League, with Ronaldo currently level on 33 with Raul and Messi.

Lorenzo Insigne mounted a strong defence of Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti following the frustrating 1-1 Champions League draw against Salzburg.

Hirving Lozano cancelled out Erling Haaland's early opener at Stadio San Paolo but the Serie A side failed to find the winner that would have confirmed their place in the knockout rounds.

Tuesday's draw extended Napoli's winless run to four games in all competitions and Ancelotti's failure to appear for the customary post-match news conference did nothing to dispel rumours of division at the club.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss has reportedly been at odds with Aurelio de Laurentiis over the outspoken president's decision to order the first-team squad into a training retreat.

Ancelotti appears to be under an increasing amount of pressure but retains the backing of his captain. 

"We're a close-knit group and that's down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell," Insigne said.

"We're grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

"We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we're determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games."

Napoli are a point behind leaders Liverpool in Group E and four ahead of third-placed Salzburg, who were on the back foot for much of Tuesday's match.

"We deserved to win the game – we created loads of chances but needed to be more clinical with our finishing," Insigne added.

"We have to play with this same spirit and belief all the time because our luck will turn."

Despite his exceptional pedigree, Ancelotti has struggled to extract the best from Napoli since taking over in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's acrimonious exit.

The Partenopei finished well off the pace of Serie A champions Juventus last term and sit seventh – 11 points behind the titleholders – after 11 games of the new season.

Dusan Tadic said "one guy came and stole everything" as the Ajax captain appeared to accuse the referee of "destroying" his team's Champions League clash against Chelsea.

Ajax were reduced to nine men in the second half at Stamford Bridge, where the Eredivisie champions saw their 4-1 lead erased in a thrilling 4-4 draw with Chelsea.

Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga own goals and strikes from Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek had Ajax in control until Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were sent off in the space of a minute.

Jorginho converted the resulting 71st-minute penalty – his second successful spot-kick of the match – before substitute Reece James equalised three minutes later at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta had a late goal ruled out by VAR.

"We were much better," Ajax star Tadic said afterwards. "We should just talk about our game because we had 4-1 and everything was under control and then one man steals everything from us.

"Big disappointment, because we should just talk about Ajax and how we play nice football, but we cannot because one guy came and stole everything.

"We saw a situation where there's a foul on Daley Blind, then it's not second yellow for Daley Blind, then it's not second yellow for Joel Veltman, then it's not a penalty.

"I have never in my life seen triple punishment, never. But everything starts with a foul on Daley Blind, he was tackled by [Christian] Pulisic I think.

"It's a big disappointment. I don't like to make excuses, I don't like to talk about other people. We should just be talking about how Ajax played much better than Chelsea but we cannot because somebody destroyed our game."

The result left Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia level on seven points after four matchdays in Group H, with Erik ten Hag's side top on goal difference.

Ajax defender Noussair Mazraoui added: "I'm very disappointed. We deserved to win. You are leading 1-4, eventually it's 4-4.

"In the end you could say you should be happy with a point, but how it went was a disgrace to get two red cards in one moment. For me that is new and happened never before."

Antonio Conte said "maybe I was too trusting" as the Inter head coach hit out at the club's management over the planning of his squad following Tuesday's Champions League defeat.

Inter surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead as they lost 3-2 away to Borussia Dortmund, prompting a post-match outburst from Conte.

Goals from Lautaro Martinez and Matias Vecino were cancelled out in a stunning second half, which saw Achraf Hakimi's brace and Julian Brandt lead Dortmund to a Group F victory.

Conte turned his anger on the Inter board following the game, the Italian accusing the Serie A club of failing to plan sufficiently for the season ahead during his interview with Sky Sport Italia.

And former Chelsea boss Conte continued his outburst in his news conference after Inter were left third and three points behind Dortmund in the race for the Champions League knockout round.

"I had my part into the planning together with the team officials, so... I've always said this and I reiterate it here," said Conte, whose side signed club-record recruit Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Diego Godin and Valentino Lazaro for the 2019-20 campaign.

"Maybe I was too trusting in some situation, that's true. I was too trusting in some situations when I shouldn't have been so trusting. But it is what it is."

Conte, whose Inter are a point adrift of Juventus in Serie A, added: "It feels like I always have to repeat the same things. I said that I am worried, I said 'I am worried' when we were winning. I repeat, I can't pretend anything more from these guys, I can't say anything to them.

"That said, there's a lot to work in order to improve and to learn how to manage every moment, especially when you are tired mentally and physically, if we want to make a step forward.

"But at the same time I am well aware that there are things I can't pretend from my players because some of them could rightly tell me 'mister, I am playing every single match from the first to the last minute.' Therefore I have nothing but respect for my players for what they are giving me."

While Conte was frustrated afterwards, Lucien Favre and Dortmund were delighted as they moved second on matchday four – a point adrift of leaders Barcelona in Group F.

"They [Inter] were very dangerous and we played very offensively because we really wanted to win the game," Dortmund coach Favre said. "We took a very high risk. We were often in the defense in two against two situations. And we made some corrections in the half-time break. We stayed very positive. Everything was still possible because our first half was absolutely not bad.

"Of course it was a crazy game in the second half. We played a lot forward and pressed well. We had more ball possession. And we played with patience, intensity and speed. It was a nice game."

Erik ten Hag said Ajax were denied victory by VAR and the referee following their thrilling eight-goal draw with Chelsea in the Champions League.

Ajax led 4-1 10 minutes into the second half before last season's semi-finalists had two men sent off and Chelsea staged a stunning comeback for a 4-4 draw in London on Tuesday.

Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga own goals and strikes from Quincy Promes and Donny van de Beek had Ajax in control until Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were sent off in the space of a minute.

Jorginho converted the resulting 71st-minute penalty – his second successful spot-kick of the match – before substitute Reece James equalised three minutes later at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta had a late goal ruled out by VAR.

Speaking afterwards, head coach Ten Hag told reporters: "Angry. Am I angry? I am more disappointed. Disappointed in the resulted. But also, proud the way we played, with 11 men but also with nine men."

Asked if Ajax lost points because of VAR, Ten Hag – who has been linked to the Bayern Munich vacancy following Niko Kovac's departure – replied: "Yes. I think so. Also in Amsterdam [a 1-0 loss to Chelsea] two crucial moments they got wrong, and also tonight the VAR is wrong."

"Tonight, that is football, you have to accept it," Ten Hag added. "How hard it might be. The positive thing you can take from this game is that we played great.

"But the decisions of the referee and VAR cannot be reversed. But we have been punished very harsh tonight."

The result left Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia level on seven points after four matchdays in Group H, with Ten Hag's side top on goal difference.

"They executed the plan perfectly," Ten Hag said. "We are still top of the group. How hard it is to accept this result, we must look forward. We have all to play for and we must continue. I'm happy with the development from the team."

Frank Lampard admitted he "cannot explain" Chelsea's 4-4 Champions League draw with Ajax after his side battled back from three goals down against their nine-man opponents.

Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga scored own goals, either side of Jorginho and Quincy Promes netting, as Chelsea conceded three first-half goals for the first time in the competition on Tuesday.

Ajax earned a 4-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half at Stamford Bridge and were 4-2 in front – Cesar Azpilicueta pulling one back – when Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were both dismissed in quick succession.

Hosts Chelsea capitalised on the two-man advantage as Jorginho converted from the penalty spot and Reece James netted 16 minutes from time, but Azpilicueta was denied a late winner by VAR as Abraham was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.

Chelsea are level on seven points with Ajax and Valencia in Group H with two matches remaining and head coach Lampard was ultimately pleased with a draw in London.

"I can't explain the game," he told BT Sport. "For all the things we might analyse back, the madness of the game, we are here for entertainment I suppose and anyone who watched that has to say what a game of football. 

"Respect to Ajax, what a spectacle. I don't think I have been in a game like it. I said at half time it will be 3-3 or 4-4, we were so in the game.

"We looked dangerous and I felt we would build momentum. I am not happy overall - this is the Champions League and we made too many mistakes.

"At half-time I would have taken a draw for sure. Let's take it as what it was."

Chelsea's comeback was no doubt helped by the dismissals of Blind and Veltman in the space of a minute.

Blind was shown a second yellow card for fouling Abraham and defensive team-mate Veltman followed him down the tunnel for handling Callum Hudson-Odoi's shot in the same attacking move, while Azpilicueta's late strike was also controversially ruled out in another game dominated by VAR.

"The red cards and VAR... every manager is talking about VAR," Lampard said at his post-match news conference. 

"I need to watch that back and see them. When you are on the sidelines it is difficult to grasp straight away."

Second-half substitute James made a telling impact from the bench as he became Chelsea's youngest ever Champions League goalscorer at 19 years and 332 days.

"He is a fantastic young player," Lampard said. "I felt we wanted more on the right-hand side. He is going to be a top player. He has got great quality.

"The modern full-back to join in, some are doing in an outstanding way."

However, the teenage defender felt Chelsea should have gone on to claim a third successive European win in the remainder of the match.

"They were hard to break down and we took advantage of them going down to nine men, it was a shame we couldn't win," he told BT Sport.

"Scoring a goal is a bonus. The manager told me to come on and liven the boys up. We had chances to win it but from where we were at half time it's a good result."

Antonio Conte turned his anger on the Inter board after his side lost 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, claiming he is being held back by poor planning of his first-team squad.

The Nerazzurri were 2-0 up at half-time at Signal Iduna Park through goals from Lautaro Martinez and Matias Vecino but collapsed in the second half in emphatic fashion.

Two goals from Achraf Hakimi and one from Julian Brandt secured Dortmund's win, which lifts them to second in Group F, three points ahead of Inter and one behind leaders Barcelona.

Inter similarly led at half-time against Barca on matchday two but went on to lose 2-1, meaning they are now in need of a win at Slavia Prague and a result against Ernesto Valverde's side at Camp Nou on matchday six to have a good chance of going through.

Rather than blame his players for a poor second-half performance, though, Conte instead accused the club of failing to plan sufficiently for a season of competing for the Serie A title while aiming for the Champions League knockout phase.

"The same thing happened that happened in Barcelona. It was even worse because we were ahead by two goals," a fuming Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"Sorry – they tell me to talk about the same things, to smile when I go on TV. Honestly, I don't feel like commenting on the second half. There were too many extenuating circumstances and too many excuses.

"I hope games like these will make people understand these things. I just have to thank the boys for what they're giving me at the moment.

"We're always touching on the same topics. Of course, this defeat irritates me and I hope it irritates my players. The management could come out and say something. At the beginning, we made a plan, but it could have been planned much, much better.

"We must try to improve. We can put anyone in trouble if we work hard, but I'm annoyed to have to say the same things all the time. It's not a question of the club: things are always done together here, important mistakes have been made. Draw your own conclusions.

"We cannot manage Serie A and the Champions League in this condition. We have our faults because we've conceded too many comebacks, but what can I say to players who have played in six games in a row?

"We are Inter, so we must all look at ourselves and realise we are… actually, I was going to cause controversy again, but no, stop me talking now. I am really p***** off, because we cannot do more than this. We've reached the limit."

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