Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas praised his players following their defeat to QPR in the west London derby yesterday (Sunday).
The 34-year-old saw his side reduced to nine-men in a chaotic first-half as Loftus Road, with Heidar Helguson giving his side the lead from the penalty spot after Brazilian centre back David Luiz bundled the striker over in the box.
Jose Bosingwa was then dismissed for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips, with the Portuguese full back adjudged to have been the last man as the pair collided in a race for the ball. It would quickly get worse for the former Porto manager, with striker Didier Drogba dismissed for a reckless two-footed challenge on Adel Taarabt.
However, the Blues arguably created the better chances in the second 45 minutes, with Nicolas Anelka seeing the best of them saved by Paddy Kenny after heading at the stopper from six yards out following good work from Branislav Ivanovic down the right. It was a rousing effort that pleased Villas-Boas.
“I have to praise the effort of my players because it was amazing. I think we reduced QPR’s opportunities to one penalty and a chance in the 78th minute and bearing in mind that we played for over 45 minutes with only nine men makes the performance even more courageous," said the manager post-match.
“It highlights the strength of commitment they have for this club. These are the important signs we take from today. We were superior all game. QPR had one penalty and one cross. The rest they had nothing.
“In the dressing room there is a sense of respect towards everybody. With a little bit of luck, we could have come out with a result. I was very proud of them but the distance goes to six points behind the leader. We have two clashes with Man City that can make us recover.”
Referee Chris Foy bared the brunt of Villas-Boas' frustrations post-match, with the Portuguese chief admitting to a confrontation with the official after the game.
A Football Association charge can be expected in the coming hours, but AVB will be hoping his comments will galvanise both the player and supporters as the club set about closing the gap on the Citizens.
“I was aggressive to him. I don’t care if he was okay about it. Everybody can have a bad day but this was not a bad day for us. This was a good day. It was a bad day for the referee," said the manager in reference to his meeting with the referee.
"It's the third time in row where a referee has directly influenced the result for us and we're not happy with this. In three games there have been blatant refereeing mistakes.
"I'm very disappointed with Chris' performance. With nine players we kept our emotions very well. Chris and his team managed to play an emotional game and they conceded to the crowd and committed tremendous mistakes."