FOOTBALL : Blackburn’s number two Neil McDonald was delighted as Blackburn saw off Chelsea to book a Carling Cup semi-final clash with Aston Villa.
Blackburn’s number two Neil McDonald was delighted as Blackburn saw off Chelsea to book a Carling Cup semi-final clash with Aston Villa.
Blackburn won 4-3 on penalties after Wednesday night’s match at Ewood Park ended 3-3 after extra-time to hand housebound Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce a real pick-me-up after his heart surgery.
But his number two Neil McDonald, holding the reins in Allardyce’s absence, said: “Any more matches like that and it will be me having heart surgery next!”
McDonald will hand back control to Allardyce for Saturday’s home game with Liverpool, but had a parting shot at Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti.
He said: “I hope they will regret fielding a weakened side, maybe they should have looked at our home form and felt that was not the best thing to do.”
Ancelotti defended his decision to field a weakened side, and then to use all three substitutes at half-time. But a string of debatable decisions by Ancelotti contributed to Chelsea’s demise, including using all his replacements before injury reduced the visitors to 10 men for almost 50 minutes of the match.
He even chose French teenager Gael Kakuta to take the crucial pressure penalty in the shoot-out, which was saved by Paul Robinson. Kakuta is the former Lens youngster whose move to Stamford Bridge has seen Chelsea fined and banned from transfer dealings by FIFA, with an appeal pending.
Ancelotti, who rested seven top players including John Terry and Frank Lampard, said: “We had priorities this week with league games against Arsenal and Chelsea. I felt we fielded a strong team.
“But in the first half they did not play well. That is why I used all three substitutes, it is not something I usually do. Then we were unlucky to have Salomon Kalou injured in the second half, and that meant we were left with 10 men. It was just unfortunate, but we still played well with 10 against 11.
“As for using Kakuta for that last penalty, it was my decision. I have seen him take good penalties during training, and I felt he could handle it.”