Chelsea must consider their 2-2 draw at home to Burnley on Monday as an opportunity missed in their pursuit of Champions League qualification, according to Gianfranco Zola.
The Blues would have moved into third place in the Premier League had they won at Stamford Bridge, but Maurizio Sarri’s side were frustrated by the Clarets – whose tactics were branded as “anti-football” by David Luiz.
Tempers were frayed towards the end, with Sarri sent to the stands just prior to the whistle before Antonio Rudiger, who did not feature for Chelsea, seemed to be involved in a touchline fracas with a member of Sean Dyche’s coaching staff.
And assistant coach Zola, who took over Sarri’s post-match media duties, acknowledged that Chelsea – who are fourth, level on points with Tottenham – squandered a big chance.
“Certainly, with three points it would have been a different story,” he said.
“We still gain a point on the other teams, and we’ll not give up until the end. We tried everything on the pitch.”
Burnley took the lead against the run of play thanks to a fine Jeff Hendrick volley, though the hosts quickly responded when Eden Hazard teed up N’Golo Kante, who later went off injured.
Gonzalo Higuain completed the turnaround two minutes later, only for Ashley Barnes to equalise soon after, but rather than criticise Chelsea’s defence, Zola believes the Blues must instead focus on improving their attacking play.
“We tried everything. It’s not that we played badly. We created chances, but it’s not easy to score,” added Zola.
“Maybe we should have done something more in the second half in their box, more effective and more precise, but the desire to win was there until the end.
“There was quality in the first half, but we couldn’t get the rhythm going in the second half and breaking down a team like Burnley is difficult.”