Chelsea’s performance against Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday certainly went a fair bit better than the last time we faced the defending Premier League champions.
The instability and, at times, downright incompetence of that historic 6-0 defeat was nowhere to be seen, with a calm, organized side holding City at bay for 120 minutes and even creating a couple massive chances at the other end. Unfortunately, we’d be made to pay for missing (Kante) and messing up (Pedro!?) those opportunities in the end, with the defending champions prevailing in the penalty shootout.
Having come so close, there was plenty to lament afterwards, though also little time to dwell on with another game coming up in 72 hours. While the Kepa incident has taken a lot of the media focus away from the other noteworthy events of the game (including Chelsea’s overall performance, the referee’s and VAR’s terrible and useless performance, etc), for the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, the main takeaway was just palpable disappointment at having fallen just short of another Chelsea trophy.
“We knew that we had to fight very hard against a very strong team, we had chances to win the trophy and lost on penalties. We are disappointed as we were close to being the champions but it was not the case. We have to recover now.
”First of all obviously we did a very good effort everyone involved we ran a lot and fought a lot. We lacked a bit with the ball, but we had good chances as well. Now it’s time to recover.
“We are disappointed as our fans were amazing and it’s been a long way until today to get to the final. We deserve to be here, but we were not able to win the cup on the penalties. We are Chelsea, we are used to competing and fighting for trophies, but at the same time it’s frustrating as we don’t show our level and this inconsistency leaves us where we are in the Premier League.”
Still, yesterday’s performance offers a glimmer of hope, hope that this form can be carried over to the rest of the season in other competitions. Chelsea may not be fighting for a quadruple like Manchester City, but finishing in the top four and/or winning the Europa League to return to next season’s Champions League is of utmost importance for all.
“We have to be focused and play in the Europa League, also to try to qualify for the Champions League, so hopefully we are ready to fight for it.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Sky Sports via Goal