Chelsea boss Di Matteo defends Ivanovic after Community Shield sending off

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo believes the red card shown to defender Branislav Ivanovic cost his side any chance of victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Ivanovic was given a straight red for a challenge on City wing-back Aleksandar Kolarov shortly before half-time, but Di Matteo feels on another occasion, Ivanovic would have gotten away without dismissal for the same tackle. The Italian also insisted Ivanovic did not go into the collision with the intention of injuring his opponent.

The challenge had no intent to hurt the opposition. It was a sliding tackle and he got the ball as well,” Di Matteo said, adding: “Sometimes a red card is given in those circumstances, sometimes it is not. But there was no intention to harm the opponent.

Di Matteo chose to hand a debut to one of his summer signings, the £32m midfielder bought from Ligue 1 side Lille, Eden Hazard. Despite substituting Hazard after just over 70 minutes Di Matteo insisted he was impressed by the Belgian’s first contribution, and added that the Chelsea team as a whole must make up for the loss of Didier Drogba. The 3-2 defeat to City was Chelsea’s first competitive match since Drogba left the club this summer.

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