Going against the approach of most teams when facing Manchester City, especially on their turf, Chelsea chose to be “brave” with our gameplan against the reigning Premier League champions.
The first 20-25 minutes of the game, including the opening goal from midfielder N’Golo Kanté, as well as Chelsea dominating ball retention at the Etihad certainly underlined the validity of our tactics yesterday.
It’s just too bad that none of that ended up mattering in the end, as City came back to win 2-1. Afterwards, centre back Fikayo Tomori summed it up well enough.
“We’re happy with the way we played but disappointed with the result. It’s disappointing because we’ve been on a good run and we played well.
“In the first half, we created a lot of chances, managed to score a goal and came close a few more times but once you go behind against a team like Man City then it’s always difficult to get back into the game.
“We had a few half-chances in the second half but we just couldn’t convert them. They slowed the game down and made it a bit more difficult for us. We tried to up the energy but they’re a good team - they’re the champions for a reason.”
Losing 2-1 at the half is never a good situation, but it is still reversible. Unfortunately City knew what to do to keep their lead in the second half (and almost increased it with Raheem Sterling during extra time), while Chelsea were left wanting with the few chances we did manage to create.
“Sometimes we won the second balls and were able to go forward and counter on them a lot but sometimes they won them and those little moments can define the game.
“When they scored that second goal, which was a great finish from Mahrez, from that point it was always going to be difficult. After half-time, they tried to stop us playing out as much because in the first half we were getting out a lot, playing good football and creating chances with the ball.
“They wanted to step on us a bit more and we knew that would leave a few spaces behind their midfield so we wanted to exploit that. We wanted to mix it up and keep them guessing, which came off a few times.”
Despite yesterday’s loss, Chelsea remain seven points ahead of fifth-place Wolverhampton in the league table. Confidence is still running high, and we should be able to carry that into our upcoming Champions League game against Valencia in Spain on Wednesday.
“We’re in a good position in the [Premier League] table, we’ve been playing a lot of good football so we’re confident. A result like this is not what we wanted but we’re going to keep training and playing like we have been doing and try to keep improving as much as possible.
“We move on quickly after every game whether we win, lose or draw. It’s about the next game - prepare well, recover well and try to get the next result.
“When you want to be a big team, you have to bounce back from the losses so our focus turns now to a big game on Wednesday against Valencia. We’ll look back on this game, see what we did wrong and what we could have done better, and then move on to Valencia.”
-Fikayo Tomori; source: Chelsea FC
Onwards and upwards!