Having been rudely reminded what defeat tastes like last weekend, it’s time for Chelsea to rebound. That starts with Thursday’s home tie against PAOK, before the following week sees three league contests in Fulham, Wolves, and the all-important Manchester City match at the Bridge.
Those ten days give us some time to figure out what went work and how to respond to it.
“Everybody was aware of the poor performance and we just want to make it right for the next game. It was not the Chelsea we are used to seeing this season. The manager was not happy at all with our performance. Even though it’s our first defeat of the season, it’s been hard to accept.”
“We just need to be responsible. We have already worked on what went wrong in the game, and we just want to make it better and improve for the next games. We want to bounce back as soon as possible and we want to do it tomorrow in the Europa League, and after at the weekend against Fulham.”
The loss may have been an isolated incident — hopefully it’s an isolated incident! — but the underlying issues have been present for some time. For Giroud, who was addressing the media as part of the club’s Europa League pre-match duties, it’s all about trusting Sarri-ball and adhering better to its principles.
“It’s all about following the ball, pressing high, covering the ball, being compact. We didn’t do that against Tottenham, so we need to come back to the main principles.
“The message of the coach is quite clear: commitment, application, and after that doing the right things on the pitch. We are not far away from what he wants us to do.
“You can always improve yourselves. The message is clear. It’s not because we lost we have to question whether we are ready or the manager’s philosophy.”
Giroud’s trust extends to Sarri’s most controversial decision this season: moving Kante to make room for Jorginho. Giroud, who won the World Cup with France thanks in large part to Kante playing in his usual position, sees the benefits of moving Kante into a more dynamic box-to-box role and believes his teammate will be able to adapt to whatever Sarri’s asking.
“I think N’Golo can play every single position in midfield. Jorginho or Cesc are the holding midfielders and they are playing a very important part in our game, so maybe in the manager’s mind N’Golo is more efficient playing box to box.”
“He can be more efficient carrying the ball and finding passes between the lines. We know how fast he is, so when he recovers the ball he can perforate the lines, that’s one of his main strengths. It’s a good position for him. Maybe he needs to be more selfish around the box, when he has the opportunity to shoot. I am pretty sure he will score more goals.”
“We don’t need to question his position; we need to adapt to what the manager wants.”
In the meantime, Giroud has his own battles to fight, too. He is no longer Sarri’s first-choice centre forward, as Álvaro Morata appeared to have found his shooting boots, though Giroud has scored Chelsea’s last two goals in all competitions as the rest of the team has gone cold. Perhaps he can keep up that momentum and help Chelsea get back on track?
“It’s been quite tough for me these past few weeks. Obviously I am a competitor and want to be on the pitch to help the team reach our target. If I want to get back in the starting XI, I need to be efficient and show the manager I am ready.”
“I won the World Cup this summer, an amazing achievement which brings me a lot of confidence, but now it is part of the past. I want to look forward. It’s true I am 32 but I still have a few years in front of me at a high level. I am going to give everything. The few months coming are very important for me so I will be fully committed to finish the season as best as I can.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Chelsea FC