Club legend Joe Cole slammed Chelsea’s first-half performance on Wednesday evening, as the Blues’ hopes of retaining their Champions League crown took a major hit following the 3-1 defeat to 13-time winners Real Madrid.
Thomas Tuchel’s side went into the match off the back of their shambolic 4-1 loss to Brentford at the weekend, although despite hopes of bouncing back quickly, the west London outfit produced yet another below-par display on home soil to dent their European ambitions.
A stunning early headed double from Karim Benzema – which earned praise from the Premier League’s leading headed goalscorer Peter Crouch – put the home side on the back foot, before Kai Havertz restored hope of a potential fight-back with a well-taken header of his own just before the break.
However, an Edouard Mendy howler just seconds after the interval seemingly put paid to any suggestion of a comeback, with the Blues now having a “mountain to climb” to turn things around in the Spanish capital next week, according to Karen Carney.
That performance understandably left Tuchel raging with his side’s display, although he wasn’t alone in his criticism of the performance, with Cole also damning of what he saw at Stamford Bridge from his former side, particularly in the first half.
Speaking on BT Sport (quotes via BBC Sport), the former England international said of that heavy defeat:
“Chelsea played well in the second half. [The] First half was one of the worst performances I have seen from Chelsea for a long, long time.”
Our thoughts on Joe Cole’s comments regarding Chelsea’s performance…
While it may have been slightly hyperbolic from the West Ham United academy graduate, particularly as the home side were still in the game at just 2-1 down at the break, the 40-year-old is right in saying that Tuchel’s men were noticeably under-par in that first period, particularly defensively.
Having for so long looked almost impenetrable under their current boss, the Blues have now shipped seven goals in their last two games in all competitions, having memorably clinched the Champions League last season after conceding just four goals on their surge to the final – a tournament record.
Reported Barcelona target Andreas Christensen came under fire, in particular, for his struggles against Los Blancos starlet, Vinicus Junior, in that torrid first half, with it no surprise that the Dane was one of two half-time alterations made in the hope of wrestling back control.
As Cole eluded too, it is difficult to remember the last time Chelsea were so outplayed in a half of football, with this past week or so having been particularly worrying for both fans and manager, alike.