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‘Winning is the only thing that matters’ but it’s only halftime against Borussia Dortmund

It’s not over yet!

Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea FC: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Getty Images

After last night’s 1-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea have just two wins from our last thirteen games, since our previous Champions League match, the 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the group stage. Obviously, that’s nothing short of terrible, regardless of circumstance or context — especially when you factor in that we’ve been kept scoreless in eight of those thirteen games.

However, what’s also become quite obvious that short of relegation, the season will be considered acceptable by the people in charge as long as Graham Potter can start showing signs of a plan, a process, and progress. And despite some mistakes, there was some evidence last night that we might indeed start improving along those lines.

That’s not something to be celebrated as an actual accomplishment, but it is something that should be acknowledged, especially when compared to what we had seen for much of Potter’s time in charge. It’s certainly not a stick with which to keep beating on Potter, and I say that as an owner of a fair few such sticks myself.

Considering that we’re only at the clichéd (but not untrue) “halftime” against Dortmund with a deficit that’s not at all insurmountable, there’s reason to believe that in three weeks’ time, we will be able to overcome them at Stamford Bridge. Champions League-winner Ben Chilwell sees those positives as well, giving him hope of achieving the necessary outcome at the end of the tie. (Of course Chilwell won’t say it’s “game over, man, game over” like he’s Private Hudson, but if we’re talking about the power of words and proper messaging, this is what is needed.)

“We’d have loved to have won or take the clean sheet. They took their chance, we didn’t take ours, that is what happens at this level. We lost and, in knockout competition, winning is the only thing that matters. We go into the second leg with positives, knowing we’ve come here and played well, threatened and created chances.

“When you look at the talent of the team, we want to be free flowing and play exciting football and scores lots of goals. Tonight was a lot more like that, especially in the second half. It just was the final ball or shot wasn’t quite there. All to play for at the Bridge.”

-Ben Chilwell; source: Evening Standard

Of course, that belief is based on the assumption that we can actually build on last night’s performance, that we can finish a few chances, reduce silly mistakes and lapses of concentration (on and off the ball), and start developing a winning culture of ambition and accountability. Keep showing evidence of a plan, a process, and progress.

And also win some games. Nothing helps with all of that more than actually winning games.

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