Chelsea won the Champions League last season and are in the hunt for the Premier League title this campaign – despite this weekend’s defeat to West Ham – but their public approach is very different to Liverpool two seasons ago
A lot of younger fans will read this column and think, ‘Nah, Chelsea are flying, Collymore.
‘They’re top of their Champions League group and, even though they dropped to third over the weekend after a spell at the top of the Premier League, they’re only two points behind leaders Manchester City.
‘So what you’re saying can’t be right’.
But I like to look at patterns and the way teams develop season in, season out.
And when I look at Chelsea, I see a team — or at least individuals within the team — who are still basking in the afterglow of being European champions rather than being completely and utterly focused on taking the next step of winning the Premier League title.
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What they have to remember is that winning the league is a million times different to winning the Champions League, and I’m just seeing and hearing things from the Stamford Bridge stars that are setting one or two alarm bells ringing on that front.
It’s not cockiness and it’s not overconfidence, just things sounding a little bit different from how you’d really like them to sound.
Maybe it’s only a fun, Soccer AM-style interview too many here or there but if I was a Chelsea fan it would be concerning me.
If you go back to the start of the 2019-20 season, after Liverpool had won the Champions League and had been runners-up on record points in the Premier League, I saw a really cold, business-like attitude from them when they reported back for pre-season.
I remember seeing videos of players and it was just a handshake, a little smile, and very much a feeling of, ‘We’re back on it, this is going to be a big season for us and this is where the work really starts’.
I remember watching Virgil Van Dijk almost on a loop with a deadpan face saying: ‘We’ve achieved nothing yet’.
There was a humility and a grounded nature about such as Van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold that I’m not seeing and hearing from some Chelsea players.
And it makes me wonder if what is essentially a young Chelsea team are enjoying the success they have had even one per cent too much.
There seems to be a feeling of, ‘Ah, we’ve won the Champions League so it’s an absolute shoo-in that we’re going to be in the conversation for the league’, and that’s not the right mentality, because it only takes three players to start thinking or feeling that way for it to become a bit of problem.
What I want to see now, then, is footage of Mason Mount on the training ground drilling balls into the back of the net instead of him smiling and telling me how lucky and blessed he is.
I don’t want to hear about Jorginho and the Ballon d’Or, and I don’t want to hear about Antonio Rudiger being the best defender since Franz Beckenbauer or whoever.
The only person at Chelsea I want to hear from is Thomas Tuchel and when that’s the case every team they come up against will know their ruthlessness is back.