Carlo Ancelotti has thanked Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp after the German claimed his Napoli side could win the Champions League this season.
Holders Liverpool began the defence of their crown with a humbling 2-0 defeat away to the Serie A side on Tuesday.
Two goals inside the final 10 minutes of the game gave the Italians victory and slight revenge against the Reds who knocked them out of last season’s group stage on route to winning the trophy.
Dries Mertens netted from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute after Andrew Robertson was alleged to have felled Jose Callejon, before a stoppage time second for substitute Fernando Llorente.
The defeat leaves Klopp’s side third early on as Red Bull Salzburg thrashed Genk 6-2 to top Group E.
“I did not see the penalty after the match, I have no idea of what happened,” said Ancelotti.
“From the dugout it seemed like a clear one to me. I don’t want to discuss about this. If he (Jurgen Klopp) says that we can win the competition, I thank him because those are words coming from somebody who knows football very well.
“But we have a long way ahead of us. Right now we must focus just on qualifying for the knockout stage, that’s our first goal and we started well.”
Willian has revealed he wanted to take the penalty that team-mate Ross Barkley missed as Chelsea’s Champions League campaign got off to a rocky start with a 1-0 home defeat by Valencia.
But the Brazilian came out in support of the England midfielder.
Defeat came courtesy of a volley from Rodrigo in the 74th minute. Barkley missed a chance to equalise when he fired a penalty against the crossbar in the 88th minute. Barkley, on as a substitute, was seen remonstrating with Willian and Jorginho, who both seemed keen to take the spot kick, with manager Frank Lampard later revealing Barkley is the Blues’ designated penalty taker.
“I wanted to take (the penalty) but he (Barkley) was confident to take it and this is football,” said the attacker.
“He missed the penalty but it could have me who missed the penalty or Jorginho, or whoever. Football it is like this, but when you win, you win together and when you lose you lose together, so now we have to push hard and try to win those other games at home.”
Making things worse for Chelsea, midfielder Mason Mount went off with an ankle injury after a sliding tackle from Valencia’s Francis Coquelin.
Valencia Inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge in their Champions League opener just five days after changing their manager.
The London side enjoyed a greater share of possession and circulated the ball around well, but failed to make it count.
A 74th-minute goal from Rodrigo that arrived from a set-piece decided the game and handed Valencia a crucial win away from home.
Chelsea were handed a life-line when Fikayo Tomori earned a penalty in the death. But Ross Barkley could not make it count as he struck the crossbar and sent it over.
How did the Chelsea players perform in this lacklustre tie? We take a look.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: Could not have done much about the goal as it came from a defensive error, hardly tested otherwise. 6.
Kurt Zouma: Was kept on his toes at all times by Denis Cheryshev, did well to thwart any danger. The goal was conceded right after Zouma left the pitch. 6.
Andreas Christensen: Held the fort well until the 74th minute, won a few duels against Rodrigo. 6.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Provided some well-driven crosses into the box, won some crucial duels in midfield and put in a fair shift at the back. 6
Fikayo Tomori: Produced some surging runs forward but did not deliver an end product, accidentally won a penalty for Barkley to miss. 6.
Marcos Alonso: One of the few plusses for Chelsea, looked good in attack and defence, won several 50-50 balls. Looked dangerous on the dead ball. 7.
Jorginho: Did a fair job against Valencia’s press, provided a good fulcrum between defence and attack. Could have done more creatively. 6.
Mateo Kovacic: Was Chelsea’s most creative player, looked great at the centre of the pitch and broke Valencia’s line a few times with his passes. 7.
Willian: Chelsea’s best player in the first half, created several chances and started most of the threatening move, team-mates not on the same wave-length. Slacked off a bit in the second half. 7.
Tammy Abraham: Good positioning and movement, but lacked the killer instinct and did not produce real substance. 5,
Mason Mount: Forced out inside 15 minutes because of an injury. N/A
Pedro Rodriguez: Incoherent plays and poor shooting – one game Pedro will want to forget. 5.
Olivier Giroud: Came on in the 73rd minute but tested Jasper Cillessen only once and the Valencia custodian produced a routine save. 5.
Ross Barkley: Came on for the last 10 minutes and missed a penalty to ensure Chelsea left the pitch empty-handed. 3.