Exiled into the stands after picking up a one-match touchline ban for his third yellow card of the season, Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino witnessed from a distance as his charges also failed to show up on the pitch. Certainly in the second half, they all might as well have joined their head coach in the stands, given how much resistance we managed to put up against a team far from their best as well.

Clearly, there cannot be much to be happy about from a 4-1 defeat, especially after the results and positive steps forwards we had taken before the international break. Our first half performance was decent enough — yet another fightback from a goal down.

But everything simply fell apart in the second 45, regardless of age, skill level, or any other quality from any of the players in action, be they backups or starters, leaders or followers, experienced or raw. While there were individual errors that can be pointed to, breakdowns among our defensive and attacking units were frequent and disastrous (for three of Newcastle’s four goals in fact). A collective disaster from everyone involved, from top to bottom, front to back, from the pitch to the stands.

Disappointed and angry may be an understatement, even if we should try to resist the urge to overreact to every single step in this project of ours.

“Really frustrated and really disappointed [to be in the stands], also with the performance. We were never connected with the game. Even when we scored, it was a moment to go but the team was never with the right energy to go and compete. [I’m] both disappointed and angry. It’s normal to blame yourself when this type of performance happens and we need to blame ourselves.

“[We] need to be more focused and concentrated. Today we concede so easily the goals. That’s why we are disappointed with that. It’s a thing that we always talk and try to be solid in our defensive line. It’s not only about the defensive line. It’s about our performance as group, like a team. Disappointed with our performance, it was our worst game of the season. It’s about to blame ourselves.

“[We] were not prepared in the best way to compete today. That is my concern. We thought we were ready to compete today but we didn’t in the way the competition demanded. [We] were soft in every single challenge, we did not show we were playing for something important. That is why it made me angry and disappointed.

“Even if we talk about being a young team, we need to learn. These type of games make me very, very, very, very, very angry because it is about showing more personality and character. Okay we are young but we can not miss this type of opportunity to show our best. We can not come from Tottenham, Man City, [where] around the world people praised Chelsea and then…’ok. I stop one step before, I don’t do the effort in the right moment. Ok no problem it is going to fix my teammate in behind’. That is a problem. We need to be more solid in this area. Mental of course and attitude, it is not attitude, it is about showing more strength in our mental game and be ready to compete. This is not the same that play football. I can play football, you can play football but to compete? I want to be ready to compete but today we didn’t.

“I include the coaching staff also. Collectively. That is about being mature […] to go and compete at your best. That is the problem, that today we didn’t show this capacity to compete. […] The big teams perform every week or every three days in this way. That is a thing we need to set in the team.”

-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London

There is a certain bit of irony about Pochettino lamenting the team’s maturity when he himself was sat in the stands with a yellow-card suspension for yelling at the referees, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

Today’s performance, especially in the second half, was one of the more shocking displays of youth, of fitness, of poor mentality, of terrible decision-making, of lack of execution and effort … of whatever else you want to accuse this collective of … that we’ve seen this season. Sadly, it’s also not a unique occurrence, though it’s a bit more disappointing now after seemingly turning a corner earlier this month.

Well, back to the training ground I suppose.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *