The goal of Chelsea’s first preseason encounter last weekend was to get the legs going in a semi-competitive match atmosphere. That focus has begun to shift slightly in preparation for yesterday’s game, our second friendly of the summer.
While the outcome remained unimportant, our play quality now did, at least in part. And, sadly, that quality dropped significantly last night, which made Thomas Tuchel unhappy. The match being delayed by an hour didn’t help, nor did losing a late equalizer before coming up short in yet another penalty kick shootout – our third in a row. But it was the fact that our troubles were all too familiar that put the head coach in a bad mood.
“If we continue to struggle to experience these sensations and complete these tasks, it will not be the first time we are punished.” Anything is possible if you keep an opponent, belief, and the stadium alive. That is why we enjoy the game so much. So this is our fault. In the second half, I had the impression they played with more courage, man on man, and we fought to escape because we didn’t move enough.
“Our ball possession was not accurate enough, and our ball movement was not balanced enough to avoid the pressure, so it was a relatively even game in the second half, which was not what we intended.”
The second half performance was especially disappointing because it featured Raheem Sterling for the first time in a Chelsea shirt, and while he did well, the rest of the team was not. And, while it was slightly better in the first half, that performance was nevertheless pretty incomplete.
“In overall, I would say we played a good first half but only covered 80 meters.” Even in the first half, the last 20 metres of the pitch were inadequate. We found many opportunities to speed and approach the box, but our decision-making and precision faltered in the final 20 metres. For the effort and quality we displayed in the first 80 metres of the pitch, as well as the amount of space we had and the number of attacks we launched, there were simply not enough clear chances and deliveries in the final 20 metres.
“We also have to admit that we created two great opportunities out of nothing in the first half, but other than that, I think we played a really excellent match in every other aspect.”
“In the second half, it took us half an hour to show some quality, and then it was only for ten minutes, so it wasn’t very nice.” Not offensively, structurally, or in the desire to be the dominate squad. It was insufficient.”
“It doesn’t matter what I’m thinking; all that matters is what I see on the pitch.” Raheem was responsible for four accelerations in the second half. This is what he gives, and there is no reason for great reservations or harsh criticism, but it is never relevant what the manager thinks before pre-season; it is the reality that matters. Every day in training and matches like this count, and we’ll go from there.”
-Thomas Tuchel; image courtesy of Football.London
Fortunately, we are still in preseason, so we can spend time in training working on these difficulties.