Chelsea finished the preseason with fairly straightforward 4-2 win over Werder Bremen in Germany.
Two early goals ensured that there was only ever going to be one winner, even as the hosts closed to within one goal on two separate occasions. A late strike in the first half from Diego Costa and a late strike in the second half from Pedro added to quality goals from Eden Hazard and Oscar as Chelsea made it 4 wins from 6 in warm-up friendlies (plus a trouncing of an Austrian fourth division side in a bonus secret friendly).
Afterwards, head coach Antonio Conte reflected on the progress the team has made over the past month.
"It was a good victory. We've finished our pre-season, it was very tough and hard in all aspects and we must be pleased to finish with a win. It's important to win for confidence ahead of the start of the season. The team started the game in the right way and with the right intensity. There were some bad situations to concede two goals which I didn't like, we must improve a lot, but we were tired after our pre-season."
"We are working very hard to be ready. It will be difficult. We know we have some problems but we are trying to solve them. I am pleased with the attitude and behaviour of my players. It's been good and now all of the players need a rest."
A rest is certainly well deserved after a month of double-trainings, but as Conte points out, the major weaknesses remain in the team. His tactics and passion can inject new life into proceedings, and N'Golo Kanté could possibly cover every blade grass twice, but there's only so much we can do about certain shortcomings.
Werder routinely exposed the lack of pace and continuing lack of cohesion in the back line, and while the likes of Yatabaré didn't quite have the composure to take advantage, that's unlikely to be the case in the Premier League.
"Today I saw some situations that we are trying during the training session. I want to play with high intensity, to win the ball back very soon after we lose it, to attack with the right balance. I saw positive things and many situations that we can improve. We are working on this. Now remains one week of work before the season starts."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea certainly appear to be actively working on bringing in a new defender or two, though so far without any success. Until then, it'll be up to Conte to teach these old dogs a few new tricks. (Or
die get sacked trying.)