Conor Gallagher knew right away that he had made a grave error. His teammates knew, too, as did everyone watching. As soon as he had decided to step forward and try to win the ball, his fate was sealed.
His first ever start for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge would thus end prior to the 30-minute mark. The first yellow was soft; the second yellow was as obvious they come.
Gallagher had started the game well, winning the ball several times with his active press and making Chelsea’s three-man midfield (ahead of a rarely seen back-four) look like a great tactical tweak from head coach Thomas Tuchel.
His dismissal threw those plans out the window, but Chelsea dug deep and managed to pull off a rousing 2-1 win anyway. That was all about individual effort and mentality, and Gallagher praised those qualities as he posted an apology on social media.
“Proud of the team for digging deep today and winning with 10 men.
“Personally, I want to apologise to my teammates, staff and the fans. I take full responsibility for the rash decision leaving them with a huge challenge for the rest of the game. Thankfully, they came through.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Instagram
While I don’t think such public apologies are ever necessary, it seems to be a modern trend and it’s certainly welcome. The 22-year-old has admitted his mistake — even though he could’ve easily used the sloppy pass from Marc Cucurella as an excuse or at least a contributing factor — and can learn from it going forward.
Mistakes happen. We just have to make sure they happen only once (though sloppy set pieces unfortunately are hardly an exception these days...).