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Arsenal vs Chelsea

Jorginho rejects red card claims after scoring equaliser at Arsenal and says Chelsea had been ‘too soft’

17:07 GMT 29/12/2019
Chelsea celebrate 2019-20
The Italy midfielder began the game on the bench but proved to be a pivotal figure in the final outcome following his first-half introduction

Chelsea substitute Jorginho says the Blues players were “too soft” in the opening stages of their clash with Arsenal, while also dismissing claims he should have been sent off in their 2-1 comeback win at Emirates Stadium .

Frank Lampard’s side fell behind to a 13th-minute header by Gunners top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Lampard responded to that slow start by making a tactical switch and bringing on Jorginho for Emerson after just 34 minutes.

Despite an improved performance, the Blues remained behind going into the final 10 minutes, before Jorginho capitalised on an error by Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno to tap home the equaliser from Mason Mount's free kick. Four minutes later, Tammy Abraham finished off a swift Chelsea counterattack to secure the most dramatic of victories.

Speaking after the game, Jorginho says he was instructed to try and drive the team on after their poor opening.

"In this first 10 minutes we were too soft so I was told to push my mates,” he told Sky Sports. “I think we changed the game."

Arsenal were left frustrated when Jorginho was not shown a second yellow card when the Gunners were still in front for a pull on Matteo Guendouzi as he looked to launch a counterattack.

Alexandre Lacazette was booked instead for protesting at the referee, with the Italy international rubbing salt into the wounds by scoring the equaliser less than 10 minutes later.

Jorginho, though, felt the referee made the correct decision, saying: "It was not my fault. Contact in football is normal. It was a foul but no more I think."

Chelsea matchwinner Abraham also chose to highlight the impact of substitute Jorginho, saying the former Napoli man changed the course of the match.

"I give credit to the boys, I give credit to Jorginho,” the England striker told Sky Sports. “The first 30 minutes they dominated the ball, they were popping us in midfield, then this man (Jorginho) comes on and it was a whole different ball game.

"Him coming on lifted the whole team and the second half was a better performance."