Chelsea have yet to lose a game this season, have already won a trophy, are second in the league purely on goals scored, and are also off to a winning start in the Champions League group stage. So far so good — at least on the scoreboard.
On the pitch, our football has not been the most fluent, certainly not consistently, either in terms of midfield control or chance creation, or, at times, even defensive stability. It’s a somewhat surprising dip considering that the squad is almost exactly the same as last year, though that familiarity goes both ways, since it also means that our opponents know how to prepare better as well.
So in turn, we need to do better as well.
“I think at the moment I feel that everybody is aware that we can do better but we are not really bad. In some moments of the games, we have very good periods but we have to admit that teams came very well prepared.
“Aston Villa changed their formation for the first time in years and played with fantastic attitude and quality. Zenit changed their formation to 5-4-1. They came with a Champions League quality team but played like an underdog with their tactical approach. We need some time to adapt to this because we are on a good run in terms of results so teams come well prepared and make life very difficult for us.
“This is our fault and what we deserve. We need to find solutions. While we are doing this, we need to be a team that’s hard to beat. This is what we want to be, we want to be that team that no one wants to play against.”
It’s certainly true that we’ve remained hard to beat, having conceded just two goals in the six games so far this season, one in the Super Cup and one against Liverpool (from the penalty spot). And the good results make any adjustments and improvements necessary easier to implement and work on.
“We have to improve our rhythm of the game, understanding of it, the accelerations and counter-pressing off the ball so there is stuff to improve. [...] Everybody is aware we have to improve but this is where we are right now. We have a long way to go, the season has only just started.
“I am not surprised the engine is not running as smoothly as at the end of last season, it takes time. [...] I would not say we are not playing well but we can do better. We are a team that’s tough to beat and it is much easier to have results and play better than play good with no results and try to keep the momentum going. In the place we are it is easier.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Easier, but not easy.
The challenge is greater. The expectations are higher. The pressures are stronger.
Step up. Improve. Hustle.