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Graham Potter assures that Marc Cucurella didn’t turn into a bad player overnight

No, it’s taken him months! (that’s a joke, kids)

West Ham United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Marc Cucurella seems like a very nice guy, always jovial and adorable in videos posted by the club or on his own Instagram.

Unfortunately, Marc Cucurella is also in rotten form and has been for pretty much the entire season — other than his full debut, which remains his best game for us, as rated by the WAGNH community (see also: Kalidou Koulibaly). He’s certainly not living up to the expectations set by his transfer fee, which is rarely a good measuring stick but we’re painting with broad strokes here.

Yesterday, Marc Cucurella also drew the ire of (some of) that traveling support when he was substituted halfway through the second half. And that’s never nice.

Much of the blame for West Ham’s equalizer was laid at the left back’s feet, but defensive breakdowns in football are almost always collective rather than individual. Missed marking assignments, not closing down, not dealing well with overloads, being caught flat-footed — there are a number of factors that should be considered, including, as pointed out by Declan Rice afterwards, the fact that Chelsea left the flanks wide open and generally didn’t track back with wingers (a tactical decision?).

“It took us a little while to get going and adapt to their system. But once we found out their weakness, getting the ball down the sides of them and realised their wingers weren’t really tracking back. We managed to get the goal from that and exploit that.”

-Declan Rice; source: Metro

That doesn’t excuse the latest in a growing line of poor performances but the 24-year-old, as Graham Potter put it, didn’t turn into a bad player overnight. And he should know, having coached Cucurella last year at Brighton!

“I don’t think Marc is in his best moment [but] Marc hasn’t become a bad player at all but players sometimes can go through bad times and we need to stick together and try to help him.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

Potter said something similar pre-match as well, hinting at factors beyond just the pitch, in “private life”, though perhaps what Cucurella thus needs to “enjoy his football” again is a sabbatical, rather than trying to get him to play through things — especially as Ben Chilwell’s now back and Lewis Hall already proved a capable enough replacement.

Anyway here’s to collective and individual improvement at some point soon!

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