Looking only at the scoreline of Chelsea’s win over Krasnodar in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday might give the impression that it was a rather easy game for the Blues. But we know that was not the case for at least the first 70 minutes of the encounter.
Timo Werner, one of four to get on the scoresheet alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech, and Christian Pulisic, admits that it was indeed hard going for a good while on Wednesday night, especially after the opportunity to take an early lead went begging.
“In the end, it was 4-0 but it was not so easy like the result suggests. The first half was really tough for us. Krasnodar were really hard to play and they gave us a lot of problems.
“We were a little bit unlucky that Jorginho did not score a penalty in the first 10 minutes but after that we played good to the front and we played deep behind the defenders. At the end, we are happy that we won.”
As hard as the first half was, the second half didn’t bring much relief. If anything, the home side turned things on even more, buoyed by the one-third capacity crowd. Outside of a preseason friendly with about 2500 in attendance, Chelsea hadn’t played a match in front of fans in almost eight months — it was practically almost a new experience for us!
Ever since the pandemic began, we had wondered just how much difference fans in the stands would make. For Krasnodar, they almost proved a difference.
“When we came out after half-time, Krasnodar put a lot of pressure on us. Everybody felt in the stadium that they wanted to score and make it 1-1 but we did well in this time. We defended very good and after this the penalty helped us a lot to win the game.”
That penalty was the second we earned that night, this time taken by Werner since Jorginho was already substituted off by then. The striker’s approach to penalty-taking turns out to be markedly different from the midfielder’s, with Werner blasting the ball past the goalkeeper and almost through the back of the net, even. (Ed.note: hardest penalty we’ve seen since Courtois?)
It certainly was a good audition for Werner to potentially take over as the designed penalty-taker from Jorginho. But Werner’s obviously a team-first kind of guy.
“[Penalty taking] depends on the game, not only because Jorginho missed a penalty, that someone else shot but I am very happy that I scored and that we won 4-0.
“It is good for us because the last game was not like this. We didn’t win so easy so it was good, not only for me but for the whole team.”
-Timo Werner; source: Chelsea FC
Good win. Good goals. Let’s keep it going.