Chelsea suffered a 2-5 loss to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday and this loss comes just days before they are scheduled to face Porto in the Champions League.
Up until the loss, Chelsea were flying high under their new manager and for the past few months, they had one of the strongest and steadiest defences in the league. But, all that came crashing down during the weekend and this embarrassing loss has given Porto a lot of hope for the first-leg.
But according to Pat Nevin, this defeat will be a big learning curve for Thomas Tuchel as the new manager will have understood a lot of things about his players and what not to do on Wednesday.
Nevin wrote for Chelsea’s official website: “Teams and coaches know that one result, or one poor defensive performance should not define a team or its season. It is senseless to dwell too long on that 90 minutes when the previous 14 games were defensively as good as anyone on the planet.
“On the other hand, it is also vital not to just ignore it and I am sure Thomas Tuchel will not do that. There were a lot of bad days at the office, in fact the entire office looked to be having a day off, but as long as it is only one day then with Spurs drawing and failing to take advantage, the top four dream is still alive and well.
“I reckon Tuchel learned more in the game against West Brom than he did in any other single Chelsea match he has been in charge of so far. It had all been a bit like clockwork up until now, but this was different, and it may well have shone a light on previously unnoticed weaknesses, ones that will only show up in the dark moments.
“Porto in the Champions League were always going to be a real test of character for us. Unfortunately they have now been buoyed by the Baggies bagging a bundle at the Bridge. From the north-west of Portugal, our defence must have looked impregnable before the weekend, but they will not feel that way now.
“To underline their credentials, they will remind us that although we crumbled when losing a man against West Brom, when they lost a player recently against Juventus they didn’t. With an hour of football still to play, they didn’t capitulate and eventually scored in the 115th minute to send themselves through on the away-goals rule.
“Sometimes it isn’t the changes but the pace of the changes you have to make that is the vital ingredient. I expect the boss feels comfortable in the Champions League, knowing that he will have to be ready for anything, and ready to adapt to anything, at a moment’s notice.
“More than anything else we need increased energy levels from the start of the game against Porto. If he is fit, I cannot imagine Mason Mount starting on the bench this time and that should certainly help.”
This whole thing has been really sugar-coated since Nevin was giving his opinions to the club’s official sources but the reality is that Tuchel has understood that a lot of work still needs to be done just to move closer to teams like Manchester City.
Until now, the attacking department was the main headache for Tuchel but after Saturday’s performances from players like Zouma and Jorginho, the manager has to sort these areas as well.
As far as the Porto game is concerned, the Blues have the firepower to see this one through but the Portuguese side have suffered only two losses in their domestic league this season and they also managed to knock out the mighty Juventus in the last round.
So, picking up a win in the first leg will not be a walk in the park for Chelsea, that’s for sure.