In the last seven seasons, the problems for a Chelsea manager have largely begun in the months of October and November. However, it seems that it has come too soon for Roberto di Matteo after he has seen his side lose three consecutive pre-season matches following the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion. Of course, these are pre-season matches, but still, three defeats on the bounce is a little hard to take. Apart from the opening pre-season match against Seattle Sounders, Chelsea have not been good as an attacking force as well.
The real problem for the new Chelsea manager, though, comes in the defence. Only a few months ago, it was praised on numerous occasions for being largely responsible for the Champions League and FA Cup success last season. Yet, the same defence that has coped with the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona are struggling against Championship clubs. It is hard to put a finger on a certain aspect of difference, but it seems that a lackadaisical approach has been the chief reason.
‘A lot of the goals have been individual errors that will be cut out when we get into the rhythm of the league and the fitness is there.
‘There aren’t going to be radical changes, but with the integration of new players inevitably we will change a bit. The way we want to play is to win many games and score goals.’
said the manager Roberto di Matteo after the Brighton match. A pre-season match might be held only to improve the fitness of the team, but there is a second element towards it – confidence – that is so often missed by many. The Chelsea defenders cannot be blamed if they have yet another poor performance against Manchester City next weekend in the FA Community Shield.
It is as if the number of signings that the club have made in the attacking positions has softened the defenders, who are now looking to have taken their position for granted. Chelsea wouldn’t want to start the first match of the season against Wigan at the DW stadium on the back of yet another defeat against Manchester City. It is time the players stepped up and showed that they are the European Champions.