What’s the opposite of ruthless?
Merciful? Generous? Gentle?
Whatever it is, that’s what Chelsea were on South Coast today, letting Brighton & Hove Albion come back into the game and share the spoils.
Frank Lampard wasn’t too happy afterwards, and he was hardly alone.
“Sometimes you can accuse a bad period in a game on a lack of fight, lack of urgency, lack of whatever. Today wasn’t. It was a lack of quality on the ball so we had a situation in the first half when we knew the problem for them.
”We could find our full backs easily, keep control of the ball easily and we just decided not to keep doing that, not to keep doing the simple things. Then all of a sudden you’re giving the ball away and when you are getting opportunities to score you’re not taking them and if you don’t do that at this level then you’re not going to win games that you should.”
“[It was] a collective in terms of the lowering of quality in our game today. That wasn’t any one individual and I think there were actually some standout performances, particularly Kepa, particularly Kante, I think Toni Rudiger but in general for the team we lost too many balls.”
It may have been a new year and even a new decade, but those arbitrary designations were just that. It’s still the same old season, the old (or young, as it were) Chelsea, with many of the same problems we’ve seen all season. Lack of a cutting edge in front of goal, lack of cohesion in defense, and a lack of correct decision-making at crucial times. It may have taken a wondergoal for Brighton to equalize, but that goal had been coming since Chelsea let our foot off the gas halfway through the first-half. Were it not for Kepa Arrizabalaga’s saves, we would’ve lost another one. Instead it’s a draw, which still continues Chelsea’s three-month streak of good results alternating with bad. (W-L-W-D-W-L-D-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-D.)
“It was an incredible equaliser, that’s for sure, but I think we deserved it because it is two points dropped. Because in the first half, if we are ruthless the game is out of sight. Not to say we had multiple chances but we had control.
”We had opportunities to play people in who could score and make decisions around the box to score, to keep switching the ball, to keep doing what we did in the first 20 minutes and we came off that slightly.
“We allowed them to feel like they’re still in the game and they’re a good team. When they started to play a bit later in the game they cause you problems.”
How do we fix this?
It’s unfortunately not a problem that has a quick fix. That’s why we keep seeing it over and over and over again. It’s a problem that will only be fixed with practice, development, time, and patience. And that’s easier said that done as well. But we have to keep the faith, stay committed, and keep working hard. That sounds trite and banal and tired, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
“Today it was a game where we should have the mindset to kill it, because the opportunity was there in the first half, and we don’t. It shows the good and the bad of us. That shows we must remain humble. We must work hard. We’ve had two great results over Christmas but there’s a lot of work to do.”
“It’s not that the mindset is there it’s just how you work to try and win games you have to deal with them in game and that is part of the process.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
We get a brief break from league football now with an FA Cup match againt Nottingham Forest over the weekend. But regardless of whether January brings any new signings (and Lampard certainly wasn’t in the mood to talk about such things), we need to keep looking for ways to improve and execute better.
(Fortunately, Spurs and Wolves both lost, and Manchester United may as well, so the damage to our top four chances may not be too great.)