Antonio Rudiger says the Chelsea players have to accept as a team they were well below their best in our defeat to Manchester City and was especially disappointed by the fact it was in the areas we are usually strongest that we came up short.
We suffered our first loss of the season due to a solitary goal early in the second half, the first we have conceded at Stamford Bridge in 2021/22 and our first from open play in the current Premier League campaign.
While we managed to keep Man City out in the first half and started to come into things a little more after going behind, we struggled to break through our opponents’ high press throughout, leaving strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner isolated and making it difficult to pose a threat of our own.
Rudiger did acknowledge the quality of opposition we faced at the Bridge, but felt the result was more down to our own drop in performance than the ability of the team we faced, meaning we can have no complaints about the result.
‘This performance in the first half doesn’t need any explanation because we were very bad and, for me, I think over the whole game we didn’t produce,’ said the defender. ‘At the end of the day against a team like them, you can’t do that. In the first half we defended well, but they scored the goal. It was a deflection but they deserved it.’
It was also suggested that the absence of Mason Mount through injury or the shift to a 3-5-2 system from the start played a part in our defeat, but these were dismissed by the German international.
‘For us it’s a team effort, it’s not about the individuals, and we have enough good players to replace anyone. No-one is irreplaceable so that’s why I think that doesn’t play any factor.
‘Analysing and saying it was about tactics, it’s just not true. I think it’s just that we did not perform at our high level that we usually do and we got punished for this. We just had a bad day at the office.’
It was particularly disappointing for Rudiger that we struggled the most in parts of the game where we have become used to excelling, such as putting opponents under pressure in possession and building attacks from the back with our passing game, as we failed to match our usual tempo.
‘Normally what we are strong in, today we didn’t show,’ added the 28-year-old. ‘We’ve played against them before and we played out from the back and it was not a problem like today. Today I think it was more on us, we have to play more ourselves. Obviously they played good, but we were not at our best.
‘Today is the first time that the opponent was physically better than us. They ran more than us, they made it very difficult for us. But from ourselves, it was very disappointing.
‘We have to admit we had a very bad day in the office. We didn’t perform on our usual level and that’s why we were punished and this is what we have to take for the next games, to give more intensity, because to be honest in every aspect they were better than us.
‘Today we didn’t show our personality that we usually show. Obviously this can happen, but in a game like this it shouldn’t happen.’
Rudiger and his Blues team-mates won’t have to wait long for their chance to correct those issues, though, as we travel to Turin to face Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, with one clear thought on the centre-back’s mind.
‘It’s always important to bounce back after a loss and that’s what we need to do. So now we’ll just fully focus on that. The aim is obviously to bounce back and to win and to get back definitely to winning ways.’