Fans were rightly angered and embarrassed following Chelsea’s dismal and dire performance at the Stadio Olimpico where the Champions got deservedly beaten by three goals to nil. Stephan El-Shaarawy scored a brace for the Serie A side and Diego Perotti added a late third. El Shaarawy’s opener came after 39 seconds. This was the earliest goal conceded in Chelsea’s Champions League history and was the first time since Southampton at home in 2013 where Jay Rodriguez scored inside 13 seconds. All in all: it was a Halloween nightmare and a night to forget for Antonio Conte on his first return to Italy as Chelsea manager.
However, whilst, the defeat is ultimately frustrating since we dropped to second placed in the Champions League group – currently giving Chelsea a 50% chance of drawing either Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain. The most startling fact about last night was how the players seemed to give up. The performance was abject and that is a lenient description: Fabregas had a mare in the midfield alongside Bakayoko, Alonso was jaded but he’s untouchable since Kenedy is clearly out of favour, Azpilicueta was played out of position (again) and to sum it all up Morata had another poor game
Morata on Twitter apologised and Rudiger on Instagram but what is most startling is what Rudiger admitted to BeIn Sports.
“It’s hard to find words, if you concede after one minute, it’s hard to tell, really hard to tell,’ ‘You can lose, but in a proper way, we gave up after the 2-0. ‘We didn’t believe in it [coming back], the minds were down, the heads were down, a really disappointing evening, we have to say sorry for the fans who came with us for such a disappointing performance.’ [Antonio Rudiger]
Admitting that players gave up will simply not cut it amongst Chelsea fans. It was basically stating the obvious since the effort in the second half, in particular, was dismal. Chelsea players should play for the badge at the very least, especially for those who travelled abroad for a midweek Champions League game. A response is salient against Manchester United but with, frankly, no leadership – it remains to be seen how the team will respond.