Antonio Rudiger tells it like it is.
And over the past few months it has been refreshing, but somewhat painful, to hear his honest assessments of Chelsea’s poor displays.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s Saturday clash against Huddersfield (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Rudiger lambasted his team for their 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth a few days ago.
“Everyone needs to be ashamed of what happened in the last game,” Rudiger said. “Everyone needs to think very deeply about that because you can win, lose or draw, but it’s the manner which is important. In the second half, I can’t really describe it. We went out and they scored after two minutes then things went very badly.
“Nothing came from us – N’Golo [Kante] had a half chance but that was it. If you look at the view of football, we made it too easy for Bournemouth by losing the ball up front – everyone knows Bournemouth are going on the counter, and they were waiting for this. We have played better this season and that’s what hurts, we didn’t really try to change this result, that is what is bad.”
When you add in Maurizio Sarri‘s comments that his underestimated the task of being Chelsea’s new manager and he finds it hard to motivate this group of players, it appears a reality check has occurred rather quickly for the Blues.
Chelsea have lost their place in the top four on goal difference and have only won one of their last four Premier League games.
This honesty from Sarri and Rudiger will be welcomed by Chelsea’s fans, but it will do little to lift and gloom around the west London club at a pivotal stage of the season.
They’ve reached the League Cup final and latter stages of the Europa League, but finishing in the top four should be the bare minimum requirement for Sarri in his first season in charge of Chelsea. The style he is asking them to play, with Jorginho at the center of it and Kante asked to play a more attacking role, has been criticized but Sarri says he will not change his philosophy.
That may be the biggest problem, as Chelsea’s players seem to have decided amongst themselves that they don’t want to play “Sarri-ball” and would rather play their own way.
Right now a top four finish looks anything but guaranteed as Eden Hazard has lost his superb early-season form and the team which opened up the Premier League season without a defeat in their first 12 games has now lost three of their last seven.
Chelsea are all over the place defensively, but it appears that keeping focused and staying motivated is their biggest problem right now.
That is a damning indictment on these players and Sarri.