After every part that has gone on over the previous week or so, the entire upheaval, sparked by the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea wanted one thing right here. Graham Potter wanted one thing right here. It was the brand new supervisor’s first expertise of a Champions League tie, a element to spotlight his sudden ascent. It could be a wild evening for him.
For loads of the second half, it appeared as if Raheem Sterling had kickstarted Potter’s tenure. With a roll of his studs to set the ball and a sleek of his proper boot, the extensive attacker discovered the far nook of the Crimson Bull Salzburg internet and Chelsea may sense an analogous ignition level for his or her Champions League marketing campaign – following the trauma of the defeat at Dinamo Zagreb within the opening recreation.
Salzburg had different concepts. As Potter directed his gamers in recent shapes, it was a battle for cohesion, for readability, and the sucker punch would arrive. Thiago Silva had been a case research in easy methods to defend, a mannequin of composure, listening to reward from the house assist. Then he erred.
The ball was his to win on the left hand aspect of the Chelsea protection solely he mistimed his problem on the substitute, Junior Adamu, sliding in however failing to make the wanted contact. Salzburg have been in. Adamu crossed low and Noah Okafor made his transfer. Moments earlier, the substitute, Dijon Kameri had flicked a header at Kepa Arrizabalaga. Now Okafor’s shot deflected off César Azpilicueta to beat the goalkeeper.
Chelsea tried to reply, Potter likewise. He threw on substitutes, looking for the options, the desperation growing. His system was fluid, troublesome to categorize at instances. Reece James pushed excessive on the suitable, Sterling even greater on the left. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled as the point of interest. In between them, midfielders drifted and scurried.
Two of the substitutes had openings. Hakim Ziyech couldn’t get onto a cross whereas he additionally shot weakly on the goalkeeper, Philipp Kohn. In between instances, Armando Broja lashed a shot excessive when he might need finished higher. It added as much as frustration for Potter, and a smattering of boos greeted the full-time whistle.
Chelsea stay backside of their group and subsequent up are residence and away ties in opposition to Milan. With Sunday’s residence recreation in opposition to Liverpool postponed due to the pull on police sources forward of the Queen’s funeral, Chelsea don’t play once more till after the worldwide break – at Crystal Palace on 1 October. There will probably be a lot of time to stew on this consequence.
The ambiance had been subdued counting right down to kick-off; the music within the stadium sluggish and doleful, ideas with Her Majesty. It was a pair of Chelsea pensioners who emerged first from the tunnel to put wreaths and there have been loud renditions of God Save The Queen. The pre-match minute of silence was impeccably noticed – save for a broadcaster speaking into his headset within the press field. The Chelsea bench shot him ugly seems.
Potter’s entrance was the definition of low-key – out of necessity. Carrying a black swimsuit and tie, he ducked into his technical space, the place he briefly applauded all 4 corners of the stadium. The response was respectable.
Potter needs assurance on the ball, the arrogance to play out of tight conditions, however Kepa virtually unhinged his crew early on with a heavy go to Jorginho on the sting of the world. Benjamin Sesko jumped in to win it and Salzburg seemed as in the event that they have been in. Sesko, although, was penalized for a tender foul.
Chelsea labored to affix the dots earlier than the interval, to create a lot of a clear-cut observe. Too many instances, the ultimate motion was awry or Salzburg received some extent in the best way. James blasted away from Strahinja Pavlovic however his cross was too far in entrance of Aubameyang. Sterling had the beating of his man on the opposite aspect however his deliveries couldn’t discover their goal.
Chelsea’s finest opening within the first half fell to Mason Mount; he fizzed extensive from the sting of the world whereas Kepa needed to be alert to tip away a roller from Sesko.
The house crowd saluted Tuchel on 21 minutes, the German having received Chelsea’s second Champions League title in 2021. They might not have Tremendous Tommy Tuchel however he’ll at all times have a spot of their affections. Potter’s try and earn it had begun with the centre-halves, Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly – recruited over the summer time at a mixed price of £108.8m – on the bench. Ben Chilwell joined them there. On the pitch, Chelsea bumped into sturdy and bodily opponents, none extra towering than Pavlovic on the again and Sesko up high.
James sparked the breakthrough and, when Mount crossed from the suitable, Bernardo missed his kick to usher in Sterling. The purpose wouldn’t be decisive. “It is not the place we need to be in,” Potter stated. “We’ve to reply.”