Three different managers have sat in the Chelsea dugout over the last three games, witnessing the same exact thing: Chelsea failing to score a goal.
Three straight league games without a goal in fact is the first such run since 2007 (around the time of José Mourinho’s sacking and the start of Avram Grant’s brief tenure). Also depressing familiar: not winning away from home. That’s now just 1 win in our last 13 tries away from the Bridge in all competitions. For what it’s worth, that 2007 team would reach the Champions League final later that season.
But this current iteration of Chelsea aren’t quite as much the finished product as we were back then. And fixing that will take time and at least one summer. However, with performances like these, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
For much of the past six months, we were continuously told how the boys gave everything and that there really wasn’t anything more we could’ve done.
Frank Lampard is here to tell you that the boys didn’t give everything. Far from it.
“You have to have more aggression in your game. More speed, more competitive duels that go your way rather than the opposition. That baseline of stuff of a team that are fighting for their Premier League lives will always dictate the turning of the result of the game regardless of the talent maybe on each side.
“I think there was a little bit of that today. The players need to be aware of that because without that you can’t win games and you can’t be the team that Chelsea have been and we want to get back to. It was interesting to see in many ways. I’m here to help with that.
“This is not stinging criticism. What are the reasons why we maybe can be like that at times? Find that and I know there’s a lot of talent there, I’ve seen it in the last couple of days and I’m looking forward to more of it.”
On the contrary, hopefully it stings.
This squad have gotten very used to things not stinging. The proverbial — but also quite literal — boot up the behind may be precisely what we need. Not just when things are going well (if they might ever one day go well again), and not just when the Champions League anthem plays. Also on a random Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands, taking on one of the many samey mid-table sides scrapping for survival.
“To expect everything to come together as a squad is maybe not the case. I’m not saying the squad doesn’t have aggression, it’s just bringing together. Sometimes a bit of confidence, a lack of confidence can look like aggression to the eye.
“As a team we were up against a team that were very aggressive today and maybe some second balls and duels and things like that we weren’t quite at. I don’t mind saying because it has to be said to be a reality to be dealt with.”
Or as José Mourinho once put it, BALLS.
In theory, there should be no lack of determination or effort on Wednesday in Madrid. But once a team get too used to just coasting by, when you let such things fester over time, it can be tough to turn that back on.
“We have a huge game waiting for us on Wednesday where everything changes. Champions League build up, feeling, I’m very excited about that.
“[Every player] is here for a reason. [It] will be a completely different game but those things are always still there in some form or another. We’ve got a few days to recover, prepare and go again.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
You deserve what you accept.