Assessing not only yesterday’s loss at Everton but also our previous league fixtures against Fulham and Wolves, Cesar Azpilicueta identified inconsistent levels of performances within games as his main source of frustration.
Chelsea were well on top at Goodison Park before the break, but could not match that level after it and were punished by Everton twice, condemning us to a fourth Premier League defeat in five on the road.
‘It’s frustrating to do a good first half, playing very good, moving the ball, recovering the ball very high, creating chances, and then in the second half not being able to replicate what we were doing,’ Azpilicueta said.
‘We went in trouble, they scored an early goal, and after this we didn’t have the reaction. Their confidence grew and we were in difficulties from counter-attacks. It’s difficult to explain how big the difference was between the first and the second half.
‘We have had a couple of games where we have had the same situation. Two weeks ago against Fulham for example we won the game, but in the second half we were in trouble and we got away with three points. In the first half we could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up and finished the game.
‘We need to be more consistent in the games, and over the last eight games we have to play after the international break.’
The Blues are currently three points off the top four, who have now all played 30 matches. Azpilicueta is disappointed we have missed out on the chance to make up considerable ground on those teams around us, and explained what we must do if we are to leapfrog them and claim a Champions League place.
‘A couple of weeks ago we were in a better position than we are now, and it’s a pity we couldn’t keep the wins away from home. In the last five away games we have lost four, and we weren’t able to win the last home game either, so from the last six points we have got only one.
‘It’s difficult to be so close to the end of the season and not to get the consistency to win back-to-back games, and be in a Champions League spot.
‘Now it’s time to learn and resolve the mistakes we are making because there are two months to go, eight games, and we have to make sure we are in the Champions League next season.’