Roy Keane has been very critical of Chelsea’s ‘staged’ show of unity in his column for the Sun. The former Manchester United midfielder had this to say:
“They seem at pains to show how together they are, but it all looks so staged. You do that in games, not before or after. Go back 4½ years, in the first match following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, they were high five-ing and hugging before kick-off in an apparent display of unity. They lost 2-0 to Manchester United.
In their first outing after Andre Villas-Boas was fired, their FA Cup replay against Birmingham City, they were flicking each other’s ears in the warm-up.
They won 2-0 — but you’d expect them to beat a Championship side.
Let’s see if they’re flicking each other’s ears after the second leg of the Champions League tie against Napoli on Wednesday. If they want to show team spirit do it by turning around a 3-1 deficit”.
Firstly, most teams show a unity and team spirit before and after matches it is not a Chelsea thing. Secondly, saying you’d expect them to beat a Championship side I think is disrespectful to Birmingham who are a very good Championship side.
Lastly, the ear flicking incident seems to have really angered Keane but I say if players are enjoying themselves in the warm-up it shows a relaxation and lack of anxiety about the match ahead which considering Chelsea’s form is surely a good sign.
Basically, I see this whole column as being biased and Chelsea hating. He is very quick to point out problems within a squad in which he is not and has never been part of. All the rumours of Chelsea’s dressing room divide are not concrete, and until a player or staff member at Chelsea states any problems people should take any rumours with a pinch of salt.
Now in order to steady the Chelsea ship I would take 3 simple steps if I were to be appointed manager for next season.
Step 1: Change of transfer policy.
I’m a firm believer in the manager or coach of a football team having a main say in any comings and goings from his playing squad. After all, the manager is the one who will decide if they play or not and if a manager is not fully committed to a player how can that player be fully committed to the manager. Chelsea have seen this with Fernando Torres, Gary Cahill and Kevin De Bruyne.
Both Ancelotti and AVB did not fully commit to Torres and so his form has been very poor as he knows the manager does not believe in him. Cahill was unfancied under AVB despite defensive problems and De Bruyne has been loaned back to Genk as AVB admitted he was a ‘club buy’ not his purchase.
For me this does not work as these players are constantly in and out of the side after a bad game as the manager does not fully believe in him. Therefore, I think any manager who comes in at Chelsea needs to have full say in who leaves the squad but more importantly who comes in.
Step 2: Remove some of the deadwood.
It is no secret Abramovich wants to move on some of the ‘old guard’ who are some of the clubs highest earners but I think Chelsea should be wary of removing too many influential players. For instance, how much does Chelsea wish they still had the likes of Michael Ballack available for the big matches?
I would allow Drogba to leave as he cannot come to an agreement over a new contract and despite being a wonderful servant for Chelsea I think it is time he moved on during his twilight years. Florent Malouda would also be shown the exit as I feel he is half the player he used to be and he will clearly not be happy with being a squad player. Solomon Kalou and John Obi Mikel would also leave as both have failed to stake a claim in Chelsea’s starting 11.
Step 3: Inject a new lease of life.
I would certainly be looking at rejuvenating the squad next season. With the departures mentioned above I would look at bringing in a new striker to partner or fight Fernando Torres who would be my first choice striker and the team would be built around him.
Obviously Mata is seen as Malouda’s replacement but I think Mata and Torres would benefit more from him being moved inside and therefore I would look at bringing in a new winger. A proper winger who likes to beat players and put crosses in for Torres, a player in similar mould to Gareth Bale. Kalou’s departure would allow De Bruyne to gain first team opportunities and Mikel’s exit is already covered by the arrival of Romeu.
With the right manager, tactics, and knowledge of how to get the best out of players I don’t believe the Chelsea squad needs a complete overhaul. Lampard certainly still has something to offer and John Terry is the heart of Chelsea. A few young players mixed with a couple of players aged 25-27 should be enough to see Chelsea challenging again.
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