The Blues dominated the early exchanges, but only opened the scoring on the 25 minute mark, with Kurt Zouma netting on his full debut. However, the Trotters equalised six minutes later, with Matt Mills finishing a well-worked move, and the scoreline remained the same into the second half.
Oscar grabbed the winner for Jose Mourinho’s men with over half-an-hour remaining, but Bolton constantly frustrated the Blues - making the game much harder than it should have been for the Premier League leaders.
The difference in quality was evident when the teams were announced, with Chelsea naming a second string to rival most Premier League first-teams, and Bolton boss Dougie Freedman told reporters that he could tell that the Blues were taking the competition seriously.
“When we saw the teamsheet tonight, we knew that Chelsea were taking the competition seriously,” the manager was quoted by bwfc.co.uk.
“We had a plan to stay in the game and make things difficult for Chelsea – we knew our goalkeeper and defenders would have to play well for that to happen.
“I felt as a team we stuck at it for the duration of the game and in the last 15 minutes, we opened things up and pushed Chelsea close and were unlucky not to find a second equaliser late on.
“Overall, Chelsea were deserved winners, but the spirit and commitment our group of players showed was fantastic throughout.”
The Blues dominated the game, controlling 63% of the ball, and registering 28 shots to the Trotters three, but some solid defending, as well as goalkeeping heroics from Andy Lonergan, kept Mourinho’s men at bay.
“I was pleased with our performance as a defensive unit – the stats suggest Chelsea were by far the better side, but I felt we frustrated them to a number of attempts from long distance.
“We scored a good goal that was well worked on the training ground - the players are tuned in to what we are trying to do here and that certainly showed tonight.
“Despite exiting the competition, we can come away from the game with a positive feeling. We encouraged and backed each other from the first to the last whistle.”
Bolton have won just one Championship game this season, and Freedman has urged his players to take the positives from their League Cup defeat into their miserable league campaign.
“We now head into a run of Championship games looking for wins. We’ve been playing well for large parts but haven’t been able to find the result.
“We’ve got to take the positives from our performance at Chelsea into our games in the Championship.”