A first Premier League defeat in two months was not the result we wanted in Manchester but Fikayo Tomori summed up the mixed mood of the away dressing room when he reflected on Chelsea’s narrow 2-1 defeat against City on Saturday evening.
Despite the loss, the first inflicted on Frank Lampard’s side in the league since 22 September, there were plenty of positives to take from a performance in which we more than matched the reigning English champions.
In fact, such was the bravery of the visitors that they came away from the Etihad having recorded the most possession against a Pep Guardiola side in any of his 381 top-flight career matches in charge. Impressive statistics do not translate into points on the board though, hence why Tomori gave a mixed review of the night’s events.
‘We’re happy with the way we played but disappointed with the result,’ was the defender’s verdict. ‘It’s disappointing because we’ve been on a good run and we played well.
‘In the first half, we created a lot of chances, managed to score a goal and came close a few more times but once you go behind against a team like Man City then it’s always difficult to get back into the game.
‘We had a few half-chances in the second half but we just couldn’t convert them. They slowed the game down and made it a bit more difficult for us. We tried to up the energy but they’re a good team - they’re the champions for a reason.’
Lampard offered the post-match view that the finer details had determined this tight contest in City’s favour and Tomori agreed as he cited the ebb-and-flow of the midfield battle plus the home side’s ruthlessness in the final third as particularly significant factors.
‘Sometimes we won the second balls and were able to go forward and counter on them a lot but sometimes they won them and those little moments can define the game,’ continued the 21-year-old.
‘When they scored that second goal, which was a great finish from Mahrez, from that point it was always going to be difficult. After half-time, they tried to stop us playing out as much because in the first half we were getting out a lot, playing good football and creating chances with the ball.
‘They wanted to step on us a bit more and we knew that would leave a few spaces behind their midfield so we wanted to exploit that. We wanted to mix it up and keep them guessing, which came off a few times.’
The Blues still have a seven-point cushion on fifth place, which could be reduced to six if Sheffield United win at Old Trafford later today, and Tomori feels that reflects the good work being put in on a daily basis. Next up is a return to Champions League action and a trip to Spain to take on Valencia, with three teams in the group currently tied on seven points.
‘We’re in a good position in the [Premier League] table, we’ve been playing a lot of good football so we’re confident,’ Tomori continued. ‘A result like this is not what we wanted but we’re going to keep training and playing like we have been doing and try to keep improving as much as possible.
‘We move on quickly after every game whether we win, lose or draw. It’s about the next game - prepare well, recover well and try to get the next result.
‘When you want to be a big team, you have to bounce back from the losses so our focus turns now to a big game on Wednesday against Valencia. We’ll look back on this game, see what we did wrong and what we could have done better, and then move on to Valencia.’