After a heroic second half effort against Tottenham Hotspur, which helped decide the Premier League title in favor of Leicester City, Chelsea failed to produce the same kind of effort and performance against a weaker side just a few day slater. Relegation-threatened Sunderland, just as Chelsea had on Monday against Spurs, used their home-ground advantage to push the team forward. The Spurs match was perhaps the loudest Stamford Bridge got all season. On Saturday, The Stadium of Light wasn't far behind.
Alas, Chelsea could not deal with this pressure as well as on Monday, and instead of rising to it, we let the opponents grow into the game to earn their 3-2 victory in the second half.
"For them I think the crowd felt like the 12th man. It was not hostile, just a very enthusiastic atmosphere, but my players are experienced in that. We should have coped. Sunderland felt the energy of the crowd but it's worse that we let them stay in it by not killing the game off. It made them a little more energetic in the second half."
"In the first half Sunderland had maybe three or four chances. You can say they wanted it desperately, but we wanted to win of course. There was a little lack of sharpness in finishing it off. I think that was maybe the difference. When you take too much time, you start thinking but then the moment is over."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
Some of the frailties shown in our last game have been present for quite a while. Giving up leads wasn't too much of an issue when we were almost always first to score and were able to grind out results last season. The team's issues elsewhere have exacerbated this issue as well. Here's hoping Antonio Conte, his staff and the board can do their best to address these issues over the next months as we look to put Chelsea back into title contention.