After the heart-crushing loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday, Chelsea players were none too keen to show their faces to the media in the mixed zone, which could easily be read as a rather sad indictment of the current levels of leadership present in the squad. Will no one stand up and be willing to be counted?
At least Danny Drinkwater was willing to talk to friendly in-house media Chelsea TV, revealing his unsurprising disappointment at the team’s failure to make the game’s first goal count and see out a win at Old Trafford.
For local boy Danny, a former Manchester United academy trainee, the loss will sting double, just as it did the previous few times he had come back to the Theater of Dreams with Leicester City. At least he didn’t get sent off like in 2015-16! (Then again, Leicester would go on to earn a draw in that game and go on to win the title that season.)
“We definitely should have got something from the game. In the first half we were very dominant. In the second half it was a bit different, it was more even, but we didn’t deserve to lose that game, no chance.”
“I don’t know the stats but the first half felt good. Their goal came out of nowhere. We had a bit of confidence coming into the second half, but it didn’t go our way. It was more of a battle which suited them and took the game away from us. All the boys in the dressing room are bitterly disappointed.”
Unfortunately for us, “deserve” ain’t got nothing to do with it. You deserve what you get, as the old saying goes. And while Drinkwater played well enough on a personal level in what was just his fourth start in the Premier League for Chelsea and the first in almost two months, the team’s performance in the second-half left plenty to be desired.
Swift improvement will be needed for next weekend then, as the Blues take another trip to Manchester, to face Premier League champions-elect Manchester City. City have not lost a single game at home this season, and only failed to win once: an unlucky 1-1 draw with Everton on opening day, where they a man down for the second half.
A loss to City would like leave Chelsea in fifth, but trailing five points behind the top four zone — all three of the teams immediately above have eminently winnable games next weekend.
Avoiding that near-disaster (head-to-head games versus Tottenham and Liverpool remain, which should give Chelsea the opportunity to catch back up), is all on the players, says the 27-year-old midfielder.
“Football goes against you sometimes and it was one of those days. There are obviously bits we could have improved on, but we have to got to look forward and on to the next game now.”
“It’s down to us. We have got to get our performances and our results in order and hopefully our position will look after itself.”
-Danny Drinkwater; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea’s 2017-18 season has been full of surprises, both on the positive and negative side of things. Perhaps next weekend it will be time for a regression toward the mean, with the Blues countering bad luck with extremely good one.
Otherwise ... well, let’s not think about that right now...