Olivier Giroud, the matchwinner in our last Europa League outing, says everyone is looking forward to getting back out on the pitch tomorrow night and putting the weekend disappointment behind us.
Against Tottenham we suffered a first loss of any kind since the Community Shield well over three months ago, and our first chance to get back on track presents itself in the form of a Europa League meeting with PAOK at Stamford Bridge. A point tomorrow night will guarantee first place in the group and Giroud, who headed the only goal against BATE Borisov three weeks ago, stressed the need to quickly return to form.
‘Everybody was aware of the poor performance and we just want to make it right for the next game,’ he said.
‘It was not the Chelsea we are used to seeing this season. The manager was not happy at all with our performance. Even though it’s our first defeat of the season, it’s been hard to accept.
'We just need to be responsible. We have already worked on what went wrong in the game, and we just want to make it better and improve for the next games.
— Olivier Giroud
‘We want to bounce back as soon as possible and we want to do it tomorrow in the Europa League, and after at the weekend against Fulham.’
Giroud says the players understand Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy and how he wants them to play.
‘It’s all about following the ball, pressing high, covering the ball, being compact. We didn’t do that against Tottenham, so we need to come back to the main principles. The message of the coach is quite clear: commitment, application, and after that doing the right things on the pitch. We are not far away from what he wants us to do.
‘You can always improve yourselves. The message is clear. It’s not because we lost we have to question whether we are ready or the manager’s philosophy.’
Moving away from the collective to the individual, Giroud has been in good goalscoring form of late having struck in each of his past two Chelsea games, and also found the net for France during the international break this month. He assessed his start to the season, which followed the most memorable of summers.
‘Personally I had a difficult preparation because I came back after the team, but I was not the only one. I had to be patient and work hard in training. After the September international break I had the opportunity to play four Premier League games in a row. I was feeling very well.
‘After the next international break, the manager changed his mind about who started. I accepted that and have worked more in training to try to come back in the starting XI. Alvaro did well so that is quite fair competition between us. When he is doing well, it’s normal you have to wait and work hard in training.
‘It’s been quite tough for me these past few weeks. Obviously I am a competitor and want to be on the pitch to help the team reach our target.
‘If I want to get back in the starting XI, I need to be efficient and show the manager I am ready,’ added Giroud.
‘I won the World Cup this summer, an amazing achievement which brings me a lot of confidence, but now it is part of the past. I want to look forward. It’s true I am 32 but I still have a few years in front of me at a high level. I am going to give everything. The few months coming are very important for me so I will be fully committed to finish the season as best as I can.’
Giroud also had words for N’Golo Kante, his compatriot and fellow World Cup winner, in the wake of media scrutiny regarding our no.7’s positioning on the pitch.
‘I think N’Golo can play every single position in midfield,’ Giroud declared.
‘Jorginho or Cesc are the holding midfielders and they are playing a very important part in our game, so maybe in the manager’s mind N’Golo is more efficient playing box to box.
‘He can be more efficient carrying the ball and finding passes between the lines. We know how fast he is, so when he recovers the ball he can perforate the lines, that’s one of his main strengths.
‘It’s a good position for him. Maybe he needs to be more selfish around the box, when he has the opportunity to shoot. I am pretty sure he will score more goals.
‘We don’t need to question his position; we need to adapt to what the manager wants.’