The autopsy of Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday continues, as all those involved deal with the failure to get a result or even to make a good show of themselves.
The result was unfortunately an expected outcome, but the lack of quality from the visitors was not. César Azpilicueta, who rarely ever loses when he is the acting captain for the Blues, reflected on the team’s failure in key aspects such as decision-making and dealing with pressure.
“We knew we were playing a team strong with the ball and they have amazing quality players, they play offensive football and we knew that we had to defend well, but we lacked getting out of the pressure and sometimes making the right decision with the ball. To concede in the first minute of the second half was really expensive.”
With this 1-0 loss to City, Chelsea are now five points behind fourth-place Tottenham, with nine games in the league left to play including meetings with direct rivals such as Spurs and Liverpool. There are also the cups in which the Blues are still present, with the second leg match for the Champions League’s round of 16 against Barcelona set to take place on March 14th, followed by an FA Cup game versus Leicester City three days later.
But even in a form that has seen Chelsea win just 4 out of 15 matches played this calendar year, we continue to control our destiny in all three competitions, including the top four race.
Thus, the season can still be successful, even incredibly so, for the team. But that hinges on how quickly the team finds their way to a rebound; something Azpilicueta is well aware of, and he hopes we can find that in our upcoming league match against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“We are in a bad position at the moment compared with where we were five games ago.”
“We put ourselves in this position and we are disappointed for it, but we have to bounce back. We have a massive game on Saturday against Crystal Palace at home and we have to focus on the nine games ahead of us in the Premier League and try to get that Champions League spot.”
“We have lost a lot of games already and we don’t have space to make another mistake. We have to go game by game, try to win all of them and qualify for the Champions League.“
“We know we can’t waste a chance to get the qualification through the Premier League. We have three targets to aim for this season, including the FA Cup, and we need to go for all of them.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Chelsea FC
All Chelsea have to do then is stay undefeated the rest of the season.
Only if we believe.
(And work hard. And fight. And pay great attention.)