The brickbats are being flung at Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte from all sides since Sunday’s dispiriting, but not entirely unexpected, loss at runaway league-leaders Manchester City. He’s even been accused of marshaling a “crime against football” and playing the “anti-football”.
But there’s a saying: “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.”
Chelsea wingback Marcos Alonso sees those three fingers very clearly. Even in the heat of the moment, in a post-match interview with Spanish radio station COPE, he’s not looking to hold anyone responsible but himself and his fellow players.
“The team had the conditions and quality to play much better – and I don’t think we were at our best.
"I think it’s an attitude problem and we have to make things clearer and improve quickly, because we have nine matches left and we want to be in the top four. I think that it is difficult, but we have to change the attitude, right?”
Chelsea have shown that they can compete on the big stage, even in this troubled season.
They came away from the Champions League home leg against Barcelona buoyed by a 1-1 draw. They went to always-fierce Atletico Madrid and pocketed a 2-1 win. They took on media favorite Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in the third game of the season and bagged all three points with another 2-1 scoreline.
Those kind of performances are why Alonso believes that when the players are all clicking, they can take on anyone.
In this case, “anyone” includes Barcelona in just over a week’s time.
“I don’t think we have a problem with quality, we have shown in many matches this season that we can be competitive against any team, like we were against Barcelona a couple of weeks ago.
“If we don’t reach that kind of level of performance in every match it’s because of our attitude.”
This kind of talk is music to any manager’s ears. First and foremost they need players to take responsibility for themselves, for their performances.
It bodes well for the remaining games in Chelsea’s season that an important player like Marcos Alonso, the mainstay of our left flank with 37 appearances so far this campaign, is putting the pressure on himself and his teammates to up their games.
And not looking to put the blame elsewhere.