Chelsea 3, Bristol Rovers 2
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned his team they must develop a killer instinct after the Blues survived an EFL Cup second-round scare against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.
Twice Conte’s men established a two-goal cushion, through Michy Batshuayi’s brace and a Victor Moses strike, but on both occasions they allowed their League One opponents to gain a foothold.
A Chelsea side that featuring several first-team stars was bolstered by Eden Hazard, Oscar and John Terry during a nervy second half and they held on to secure their place in Wednesday’s draw.
“It’s important to understand that when you have to kill the game, you must kill, and not keep the game open,” said Conte.
“This match was very important to understand also that our concentration must maintain for the whole game. We know that we have to improve.
“We created a lot of chances because we played good football with four strikers – Pedro, Moses, Loftus [Ruben Loftus-Cheek] and Batshuayi – but in the second half we suffered a lot and I didn’t like this.
“Bristol Rovers did a good game but I think also we permitted this in the second half. We relaxed a bit and this permitted Bristol to score the second goal.”
Victory came at a cost for Chelsea, whose need for defensive reinforcements before the transfer window closes next week was heightened by an injury to young full-back Ola Aina.
But there were positives in the form of £33m summer signing Batshuayi, who has made telling contributions in all three appearances, and Loftus-Cheek, who had a hand in two goals.
It was Loftus-Cheek’s pass that freed Nemanja Matic to pull back for Batshuayi to hook the hosts’ first goal, and Moses tapped in the second from Cesar Azpilicueta’s centre on 31 minutes.
England Under-21 star Loftus-Cheek turned and laid on Belgium international Batshuayi’s second, after Rovers had pulled one back through Peter Hartley’s header from a free-kick, but the visitors would strike again just after half-time when Matty Taylor was brought down by Pedro and Ellis Harrison converted the penalty.