I’ve had a chance to calm down over night, but even though I am normally the one coming with positivity, realism and belief. Right now I’m still sharing the anger of most Chelsea supporters.
What we witnessed yesterday at the Etihad Stadium was not a defensive masterclass, neither was it a good attempt to get a result against the impressive league leaders. In fact, it wasn’t even football, it was anti football.
Antonio Conte decided to go with the same formation that got us a result at home to Barcelona. Whilst on that occasion it worked to a certain extent, we are still facing a near impossible task to now go to the Camp Nou, and at least score one goal to have any chance of qualifying.
Yet yesterday at City, we were even MORE defensive than we were against Barcelona. The formation was very much a 5-5-0. Have you ever witnessed a football team play such a formation? No, me neither. Hazard was our only ‘striker’, but he was so deep that he was more of an attacking midfielder. It was absolutely abysmal.
I totally get that City are a great team who are likely to punish a side who are attacking and open. However, Chelsea are not a bottom three side, we have the quality to face up to City at least give them some kind of match.
Chelsea were defeated from the off, the words from Conte leading up to the match were basically accepting defeat. At the very least he was playing for a draw. But I like many, would sooner take a 3-0 loss if we at least deserved something from the game, offered anything going forward or at least put in 100% all over the park.
Yes City might have more quality than us, but are they more fitter, did they have more players than us? No. If every player put in a shift, we could match City.
But the issue here is deeper than the individual performances on this occasion. Unfortunately for me it was all down to Conte. His constant negativity and downbeat attitude to the media and on the sidelines is rubbing off on the performances.
Yes he has not been backed by the board and yes the board are not showing the ambitions of previous years. However, he was employed as a Head Coach – he would have been fully aware of his powers at the club and their plans before he took the role.
Yes its disappointing that he may not be getting all that he wants at the club, but he then has two options. You either sit around, complain and mope about. Or you stand up, motivate, coach your players and inject belief into them. You work with what you have got, a team who won the Premier League last season, not a team who narrowly avoided relegation.
Summer recruitment was poor by the club, whoever makes the decisions. I’m not here to debate that at the moment. I strongly believe that Conte’s decisions, stubbornness and reluctance to rotate or change up a game plan earlier in the match when its not working, has caused us to only have 4 victories from 15 matches in 2018. That I firmly believe is on the coach at this point.
Yesterday fans were saying a draw would have been a good result. Well, in reality and the situation we are in currently, no it would not. We are 5 points behind a Champions League spot, if we drew we would have been 4. Whereas City are beatable and for me I’d much rather have at least attempted to get the 3 points an be firmly back in for a chance of top 4.
Champions League football is hugely important at the club, for so many reasons. Play players to their strengths and do what we do best. I’m not saying go all out attacking against top of the league. I’m saying inject belief into the players, face up to the opposition, play a normal formation and attempt to contain and counter attack, which we have done so effectively against a number of teams in recent years and particularly this season.
With Conte if a formation works once, he seems to feel that it will keep working against similar opposition. The 3-5-2 got found out on a couple of occasions and his alternative to that against the big teams was use a false 9. And because that ‘kind of’ worked against Barcelona, he fully believed he could get a draw against City using the same system. It’s really quite narrow minded.
I’m not here to slate Conte and anyone who follows me regularly on Twitter will know that I have always supported him and dismissed the Conte out movement. He is a good coach and what he’s achieved at Chelsea with the squad he had last season is something short of a miracle.
However, I fully believe that his mind has already left Chelsea football club. The things he has been saying, publicly criticising the board in an indirect way, breeding negativity into his line ups and pre-match interviews, his abysmal choice of substitutions and his all round persona, for me says it all.
The way he has handled certain situations has not been professional. He has certainly lost the trust of a number of high profile players at the club, this unfortunately is reality.
He will be gone in the summer. But I have to be bold and speak from my gut here and say that I unfortunately feel that it might be the time to part company IF we get knocked out against Barcelona, which lets be honest is quite inevitable now. This season is a lost cause already all bar the FA Cup, but even that feels like an impossible task judging the form of some of our rivals still left in the competition.
Conte has created toxicity around the club and his frustrations have boiled over to the players and his line ups. He is almost sulking and attempting to gain support by breeding it into people that this is not his fault and entirely down to the club. He often mentions that he is a great coach and has over achieved. I get where he’s coming from I really do, but has has absolutely nothing to gain by being so low and downbeat at this stage of the season, when there is still so much to play for. You’re annoyed we get it, but we don’t want to hear how its not your fault right now, we want to hear a rallying cry and see you stand firm and take the troops forward, despite all that’s happened.
Right now I want to see us standing up and doing the best we can do with the players we have. Be bold, throw in your Hudson-Odoi’s and your Ampadu’s, after all the pre-mentioned will do a better job than Pedro is doing this season to say the least. But do what your paid to do, motivate and coach the players to believe, don’t dwell on what went wrong with recruitment – just focus on the now and getting results, playing good football and at least trying to get a win.
He made the players scared and shaky yesterday, nobody wanted the ball in fear of making mistakes, they were defeated from the off. And yes you can argue the only goal City scored was down to an error, but they were always going to score, anyone could see that. Teams like Burnley, Bristol City and Wigan have got respectable results against City recently and I know they might not have had their full squad starting, but these teams stood up and went for it against them and got something out of it.
I don’t know what the answer is right now. I too want stability at my club, I want a Manager to stay there for years, build trust with the board and the players. But when there is this much negativity around the club being created by the coach, I can’t see how he can possibly stay any longer. I think change is needed.
I’ve been seeing people say throw Jody Morris and Frank Lampard in there as interim’s until the end of the season and to be honest I wouldn’t be against such an idea, they literally have nothing to lose now. I can’t see us making top 4 if Conte stays.
We need a progressive leader who doesn’t blame everyone else, takes responsibility, builds belief in his players rather than state how average they are (even though SOME of them are). We need a coach with the tactical knowledge and motivational skills to go forward, someone who has the balls to try something different or totally switch things up at half time if its not working. Sometimes Conte is too concerned about what the media will say after the game rather than making decisions to change it.
I’ve been calm, positive and real throughout this season, but my stance may now be changing. I can only see more negativity, more toxicity and more anger a it stands. But I’ll always support any player or Manager as long as they are at Chelsea, despite my own beliefs of what I feel should be happening. I’ll criticise, but I’ll always support.