A smattering of boos could be heard after Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against Everton at Stamford Bridge, probably aimed at our listless play in the closing minutes of yet another frustrating result. We’ve now dropped nine points in our last seven games, winning just three times and falling four points behind in the title race. That may not sound like much, but with Manchester City and Liverpool (who are three points ahead) are in such relentless form, it’s certainly a significant gap.
Those boos may have been blown out of proportion simply by the virtue of bringing them up in press conferences, while also using them as a jumping-off point for a few classic (and premature, one might add) “what has gone wrong” pieces that have been champing at the bit of a few journalists’ proverbial pens, but Chelsea’s results certainly haven’t been flawless and neither has our play on the pitch.
For Tuchel however, the punishment for our mistakes has been disproportionate not only to the number of mistakes made, but at the same time also to the number of rewards we’ve received for the rest of our (good) play. Some might call that luck. Some might call that fate. Some might call that football. Or whatever else you want to call it. But what we mustn’t call it, what we mustn’t do is solely use the results to judge — not now, not before, and not in the future.
That’s easier said than done, I realize, and it’s sadly not all that common either, be that among fans, among the media, or among owners. And yes, results are the only thing that matter at the end of the day. You don’t win trophies for expected goals, possession percentages, or good intentions.
But sometimes you do have to look a bit more than just skin deep.
“We are in a place where you don’t want to be. We have had good performances — sometimes very good — but we don’t have the results for them.
“If you have bad performances and you don’t have the results, you just focus on the performance. You speak it out loud, get the details better, do whatever needs to be done to make the performance better and increase the possibility of a result. If you had a bad performance and you get a good result, even better because you are still in the place where you can focus on the bad performance, but you win and have that atmosphere.
“In this space where we are, it’s tricky. [We] are getting punished for not a lot. It’s hard to accept. [It] seems to be a pattern, but only if you look at the result. If you look only at the results in football, you can be horribly misled. Putting maximum focus on the result because they are not going your way is a big risk. This can lead to frustration and behaviour that makes you play bad. I absolutely don’t want to end up there.
“I encourage the team to go, do it again and believe. Why should we not? The last results are not what we expect, a bit up and down, and maybe we struggle with praise, but it’s not one reason. We are always looking for reasons. We want to have doubts, and have the results be the proof for the performance, but I don’t see big things going wrong.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC
So what do you do when the result isn’t the “proof” of the performance? Do you do nothing and wait for your luck to turn? Do you rip it all up and start over again? Or do you trust the process that got you this far?
There is no one right answer that fits every situation. For Chelsea’s current situation however, the best choice is surely to stay calm and avoid certain drastic decisions. That doesn’t sound like a very Chelsea thing to do — and maybe that’s the process we’re trusting the most when push comes to shove — but in the meantime, let us not lose our heads, be that in the stands, on the pitch, or in front of your screens (and especially in the wasteland of social media).
“[Against Everton], for me, I think we have all the right to admit it was purely down to bad luck. This game in all statistics, expected goals, is a clear win. [But] I agree the last results are absolutely not what we expect and what we maybe deserve
“[So] you get booed off, it happens [and] I can just tell everybody: we need the support. We need the players on top level and we need the supporters on top, top, top level especially when things get a bit tough and a bit tight. We need them even more.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: ESPN
Supporter. It’s in the name. Support-er.
So be one, wherever you are. Enjoy the good times and don’t make the bad times worse.