Chelsea have not found as much success in 2018 as we had in 2017, and while there are many reasons for that, one of them is the flagging form of Andreas Christensen.
The former loanee who turned 22 less than two weeks ago had been strong and steady in the heart of the defence for most of the season, replacing one of last season’s most important players in David Luiz, but has made a few crucial errors in the last few months. He’s gone from one of the first names on the team sheet into a rotation with Rüdiger and Cahill (with Azpilicueta undroppable on the right side of the back three).
Dealing with adversity is one of the biggest tests for any young player, but the way Christensen’s handling this situation so far has been excellent. He’s admitted his mistakes, faced his errors, and is working hard to not repeat them. What more can you ask?
“I have been p***** off with myself.”
“Every time I go back on the training pitch at the moment, I want to do better. At the same time, when I go home, I don’t want to bring my family or partner’s mood down.”
“I try to relax and be happy, I try not to think about it. I believe it’s important not to do that or it will drive you crazy.”
“But when I make mistakes, I do get p***** off with myself. It has been a difficult moment for me, but it’s not my first.”
Christensen returned to Chelsea to become a rare loanee to manage to integrate and establish himself in the first-team. He had spent the previous two seasons at Borussia Monchengladbach, a loan spell that began with a disastrous 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund and a sacking of then manager Lucien Favre after four more defeats in a row. Christensen was relegated to the bench and he had to work hard and stay committed to earn his place back in the team. He did so in short time and was a mainstay for the rest of his two seasons at the German team.
Things are not as bad at Chelsea right now, and surely Christensen will deal with this adversity just as well, if not better.
“I don’t think the mistakes I’ve made are related in any way. They are all separate from each other. Put it this way, after making a mistake in one game I don’t feel scared about making another. I try to be strong mentally. I will put the team in danger if I’m not sure of myself. I need to stay concentrated the whole time.
”I don’t take it in a bad way. I still feel like I’ve had a great season. I look back on it proudly. I will learn from it and keep moving forward.”
Before Chelsea, Christensen spent several years at Brøndby IF academy in his home country. The influence of his father Sten, a former goalkeeper for the team, was major in his development as a player.
Thanks to that, several clubs began to arrive at their door in attempts to attract the youngster’s services. Chelsea were eventual winners in the chase, much thanks to former technical director Michael Emenalo, who was not fully appreciated until leaving for Monaco earlier this season.
“People from the outside don’t always see the whole picture. For me he did a great job. Sometimes it is easy to say things when you don’t know what’s going on.”
“He was the first one at Chelsea to insist that I signed here. After I joined, he always said his office door was open to me.”
“If he could see I was concerned about something he’d reassure me, just by saying simple things like ‘don’t worry, the manager can see what you’re capable of, just keep doing what you’re doing’. Those statements helped me keep my head held up high, to keep looking forward and ready for what might happen.”
Figuring out a proper replacement for Emenalo is just one of the many big issues that Chelsea have to solve this off-season. Another one will be to continue building a strong core for the future, a core in which Christensen will surely play a large part.
But before all that, Chelsea do have a chance to end the season on a good note despite all the disappointments since winning the title 12 months ago. Just two wins separate the Blues from the FA Cup. Manchester United await Sunday’s winner in the final.
“We are going into our game not thinking what anyone else says. We feel comfortable in our position and believe in ourselves.”
“I have a winners’ medal from the League Cup in 2015 because I made my debut against Shrewsbury in one of the early rounds.”
“But this would mean a lot more because I will have played much more of a role. It would be my first trophy where I have played the whole way.”
-Andreas Christensen; Source: Evening Standard
Get it done, Andreas!