Familiar times call for familiar words, so here are two of the longest-serving players with sentiment they may have shared many times before — but especially back in 2015-16 and 2012-13. As much as we love to make history at Chelsea Football Club, we sure love to repeat it as well, warts and all.
“We just need to keep strong. I’ve been here before at this club - it’s about staying calm. It hurts a lot when you come off after a performance like that.”
Cahill might be familiar with the feeling but this is the first true crisis he’s had to handle as club captain and his shirking of the cameras after both the Bournemouth and Watford defeats did not pass without notice. So it’s nice to see (read?) him step up to the microphones, finally, and put some words of encouragement out there, as token a gesture as that all might be.
“Whatever is decided, the players have to take responsibility. The manager has done an absolutely unbelievable job.
“This is the worst I’ve felt for quite a while. Performance-wise (against Watford), I didn’t recognise us or myself. It was abysmal.”
-Gary Cahill; source: Telegraph
The players “taking responsibility” is great and all, but without performances to match, they’re not much use. That alone didn’t save Mourinho’s job and it certainly won’t save Conte’s job either, especially as Abramovich has apparently stopped “canvassing” players for their opinions as he used it back in the days of the Old Guard. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s probably the right thing (especially as Conte agrees with this policy as well). Synergy!
If Abramovich were to make an exception, he perhaps would be wise to choose César Azpilicueta for a little heart-to-heart. The Vice-captain remains one of Conte’s staunchest allies in the dressing room — at least that’s what the Brazilian media are claiming, who, it should be noted, have been running with the palpable discord storyline ever since the Costa and David Luiz “incidents”.
Azpilicueta has had a few words to say after the second shambolic defeat in the space of a week, and he is certain that the team will fight back from this low-point. (Hopefully this is now indeed the low-point.)
“I think when Eden scored the ambition in the team, and the feeling we had on the pitch, was that we could get the win, even if we were a man down. We started the second half with a good spirit, trying to get the goal, and when we did it I thought the team were capable of getting the three points.”
“Of course it’s very difficult to take, we’ve had two heavy defeats and obviously we are really disappointed. It’s a massive setback for us. Against Bournemouth [last week], in 15 minutes we conceded three goals and in that period when we are bad we need to try to manage and pass through the time in the best way possible.”
“If you see the training sessions we fight hard. We are disappointed with the way these last two games went, but it was over 15 minutes in the first game and 10 minutes this time. We are getting penalised in the bad moments we are having in a game, it’s not a long period but in this league, which is so tough, you get punished as soon as you drop a bit.”
“As a player what I want is to get back on the training field as soon as possible, work hard for Monday’s game, get the three points and get some confidence back.”
“We are Chelsea, a big club and when we lose one game it’s a bad time for us. Obviously to lose two in a row is even worse but I’m sure this team will fight back. We have three targets to go for and we have a massive three or four months ahead of us.”
-César Azpilicueta; Source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea are now on a much needed mental break until Thursday, after which the work resumes and all eyes turn to Monday Night Football at the Bridge as the worst team in the league come to town. If we can’t beat them...