The scoreboard might have read 4-0 at the end of 90 minutes, but if for whatever reason you had only seen the first half, you might have been wondering if that was some sort of operator error.
Chelsea were lethargic, to say the least, throughout the opening 45 minutes, with careless mistakes in midfield and defense (not even Édouard Mendy was immune to them) combined with some uninspiring, slow-tempo football in attack. In some ways, we were lucky to not be behind at the break, though Burnley offered very little beyond anything we might have gifted them.
And then, someone flipped a switch, and suddenly we were seemingly in an entirely different universe. They often say goals change games, which was certainly true in this one. Reece James bamboozled half the Burnley defense to get Chelsea’s first just a few minutes after the restart, and barely seven minutes later, we were already ahead by three. A fourth was added a bit later for good measure, making it the third time in our last four trips to Turf Moor that we’ve scored that many (it was “only” 3-0 last season).
Head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed his team’s character and perseverance, revealing that he didn’t really do anything too drastic at half-time, merely reminded the team of things that were talked about beforehand — though also tweaking the role of Kanté (and by extension Mount and Pulisic).
“We just reminded everybody what we want to do. Reminded everybody where the spaces are, where we want to find the acceleration and where we need to step up [...] to ask questions and make life more difficult for the back four. The goal then opened the game up for us and gave us more belief and more confidence and then our attacks were more fluid, more decisive.
“[Also] we had a bit of a switch in tactics to give NG a bit more space and with two strikers on the pitch, the team did very well and we kept on believing and had a fantastic second half with a brilliant result.”
“You know what’s waiting [at Burnley]: physicality, headers, second balls, fighting for second balls, crosses, set pieces and again we stepped up. So for me, it showed a lot of character. That’s why I’m very proud.
“It shows the guys have what it takes to play for Chelsea, it shows obviously the environment to focus on football because we believe we are allowed to focus on football as good as possible. That is why I’m very happy.”
There was certainly great character shown on the pitch, though less so in the stands, with the away support embarrassing the club and Chelsea fans by disrupting the pre-match tribute paid to the victims of the war in Ukraine by chanting Roman Abramovich’s name. Regardless of why that was done, it was not the time.
“It’s not the moment to do this. Listen, if we show solidarity we show solidarity and we should do it together. We take the knee together and if an important person from our club or another club unfortunately dies, we show a minute of respect. It’s not the moment to give other messages. It’s the moment to show respect.
“We do this because this is what we are also as a club. We show respect as a club and we need our fans to commit to this minute of applause. At this moment, we do it for Ukraine and there is no second opinion about the situation there. They have our thoughts and our support. We should stand together as a club. It’s not the moment for other messages.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Attention-seeking morons aside, it was a great day for Chelsea (well, at least the men’s team), and now we get a few days to rest and recover before Thursday’s trip to Norwich City.