Mason Mount has given an honest assessment of our defeat at Dinamo Zagreb and says it is time for the players to look at their own performance and start living up to the high standards expected at Chelsea again.
Mount was part of the side which suffered a 1-0 defeat away at Dinamo Zagreb in our opening Champions League fixture of the season, in a game which followed a familiar pattern during what has been a frustrating start to the 2022/23 campaign in general for the Blues.
Despite dominating possession at the Stadion Maksimir, we weren’t able to find the opening goal and then struggled to create chances once the home side had taken the lead through a counter-attack and began to sit even further back to hold on to their narrow advantage.
‘We have to be brutally honest with ourselves, it’s not good enough,’ said Mount after the final whistle in Zagreb. ‘It was the first game in the Champions League, we needed to make a good start and I felt like we started the game well, but we let it slip away and that’s happened over the last few games. So it’s something we obviously need to look at.
‘It’s a massive disappointment. We know how big this competition is and how much it means to us and what we’ve done in it over the last two years, so to start like this is disappointing. But it’s not over and it’s all about our reaction now going forward. The next few games are massive and we have a home game next in this competition, so we need to turn it around and that’s on us’.
The 23-year-old was clearly unhappy with the result and the performance, but was adamant he and his team-mates only have themselves to blame and are the only ones who can fix the problems which led to them.
‘We had opportunities in the first 20 minutes. We were creating, we had a lot of domination with the ball, camped in their half. It was going to be difficult to break them down at first but if we’d kept going I feel that the goal would have come but there was a lack of concentration.
‘It was too easy when we gave the goal away, we left ourselves open and they made it 1-0. In any game we play it’s very difficult at the level we’re playing at to get back into a game when you’re 1-0 down, especially in the Champions League.
‘We didn’t take our chances, didn’t have enough clear-cut chances and in any game you play, especially in the Champions League, you’re not going to get loads of clear-cut chances. So you need to take them and the half chances that come around, and obviously stay concentrated at the back because once you switch off for 10 to five seconds they’re on the counter-attack and they score.
‘The way we started the game we should have killed it off at the beginning. If we take our chances, score some goals, then the game’s done. We let them feel that they were still in the game and once they got their goal it’s very difficult to get back into it.
‘So we need to look at ourselves and our underperformance and come back stronger, because it’s really not good enough. But we’re a team that bounces back and we’re strong. Obviously this is a moment in time when we all need to get together and really look at where we can improve.’
When Mount talks of everyone getting through this tough moment together, it’s not just the team he’s referring to, as he made clear when he was asked if he had a message for the Chelsea supporters after this disappointing defeat, especially those who made the long trip to Zagreb for the game.
‘That they need to stick with us and we’ll keep going, trying our hardest to stick at it. It’s a difficult period but all we can do is keep working hard and we’re all together in this and we’ll get ourselves out of this period.’