Toni Rudiger says we have to show a ‘big reaction’ when we take on Huddersfield this afternoon in what is our first game of what could potentially be a season-defining month.
Just three days after our heavy defeat at Bournemouth, a second consecutive Premier League reverse, Maurizio Sarri’s side have an immediate opportunity to get that performance out of our system and return to winning ways.
The Blues will go into today’s home game against bottom-placed Huddersfield, who have won just two league games all season are are now under the stewardship of new manager Jan Siewert, as clear favourites, and while Rudiger refuses to take our opponents lightly, he says winning the game is simply all that matters.
‘It’s not as easy as that but it has to be our aim, there’s no other aim,’ the defender said. ‘There cannot be another target. We analysed the Bournemouth match and we know what we did, it was bad, especially in the second half. In this kind of game we need to fire at the goal because if you don’t try to hit the target you will never score.
‘It's difficult to analyse Huddersfield and what system they play right now but that doesn’t matter, we have to do our job and win this game. We have to show a big reaction after the defeat against Bournemouth and we have to find continuity, right now it’s too up and down.’
Rudiger started Wednesday’s game at the Vitality Stadium, a contest in which the Blues had the better of the first half and hit the woodwork early on through Mateo Kovacic. Having conceded four goals after the break, however, the German refused to look for excuses.
‘In the first half we did well, we had the first big chance and hit the crossbar, it was a good save from the goalkeeper,’ he explained. ‘But the second half I can’t really describe. We went out and they scored after two minutes and then things went very badly for us. We consider ourselves a top team and that can’t happen to us. We made it too easy for them by losing the ball up front and everybody knows Bournemouth are good on the counter attack. They were waiting for that and it was too easy for them.
‘Everyone needs to be ashamed of what happened in the last game, everyone needs to think very deeply about that because you can lose, you can win, you can draw, but it’s the way you do it. Okay, we went 1-0 down, but still nothing came from us. Yes, we had that half-chance with N’Golo but you can still try. As an example, Liverpool went 1-0 down against Crystal Palace but they came out and scored two goals in five minutes, that’s the kind of reaction we need.
‘We are Chelsea and from outside comes a lot of criticism, but we have to be cool in our minds and be honest with ourselves, that’s the most important thing.’
Rudiger was joined by Gonzalo Higuain in the starting line-up at Bournemouth and the defender is well aware of his team-mate’s quality having watched him at close quarters during his time in Italy.
However, Rudiger believes the rest of the team can play a part in bringing the best out of the Argentinian as he attempts to get to grips with the demands of the Premier League.
‘In Italy he was phenomenal, really good at Napoli and Juventus, he won a lot of trophies,’ Rudiger said. ‘Everybody knows who Higuain is, he’s a goalscorer and now it’s a new challenge for him. He’s a player with a lot of experience but he needs to adapt and we are trying to help him adapt very quickly.
‘With the way the manager wants us to play it will suit him because that’s the way he scored a lot of goals for Napoli but it’s down to us players to make him shine as well.’
February is undoubtedly a big month for the Blues, with Premier League games against both Manchester City and Tottenham, as well as another fixture against Pep Guardiola’s side in the Carabao Cup final. We also face Man United in the FA Cup, as well as a two-legged Europa League tie against Malmo.
For Rudiger, the schedule represents a perfect opportunity for the squad to come together and show everybody exactly what we are capable of.
‘Normally if a new coach comes some things don’t go well at the start, but we were the exact opposite,’ he said.
‘Not everything was perfect but it was good and so now we are facing difficulties at a very important time in the season. Still, we have everything in our hands so we have to go for it.
‘This month we will show our real face and everyone needs to be ready for that because there’s a lot on the line. Also, now the outcome of this month will show what way it goes. Everyone needs to know what’s going on right now and if you think as individuals you will fail.’
- Due to reasons outside the club’s control, unfortunately we have had to cancel the Megastore poster event planned before today's match against Huddersfield Town. We apologise to all those supporters affected, and hope to be able to reschedule at a future game.