Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has slammed Chelsea’s ‘underwhelming’ campaign and believes there have been ‘worrying signs’ at the club all season.
Chelsea are on course to finish in the top four and are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup but have failed to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League.
The Blues sat in first place heading into December but their title hopes faded over the winter and are now sat 12 points adrift of leaders City in third with seven games of the season remaining.
Chelsea’s defence of their Champions League crown also came to an end this week, eliminated by Real Madrid at the quarter-final stage.
Morris left Stamford Bridge with Frank Lampard in January last year with Thomas Tuchel guiding the club to the Champions League during his first season in charge.
But with the club failing to build on that success, Morris believes the 2021-22 season will eventually be judged as a disappointment.
‘On a whole I’d say this season has been slightly underwhelming for Chelsea, especially considering how strong they finished last year,’ Morris said, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at the launch of their 5-A-Side bet on Chelsea v Crystal Palace.
‘If you look at them defensively when Thomas Tuchel took over, they looked so solid – and then to go on and achieve what they did by winning the Champions League; you’d have been right to have had high hopes for them at the start of this season with the signing of Romelu Lukaku.
‘You thought maybe that might have been the missing jigsaw piece that could have elevated them to the levels of Manchester City and Liverpool.
‘I wasn’t getting too carried away by the team at the beginning of the season, because I felt that they were giving up a lot of chances in games – and even though they weren’t conceding many goals, I thought Edouard Mendy was their best player in those opening eight or nine games.
‘For a team that was as solid as they were defensively at the back end of last season, I felt that was a slightly worrying sign. Ultimately, I think that’s kicked in on too many occasions this season; the minute Mendy has an off game, they were conceding goals far too easily.
‘Even at the start of the season, when Lukaku was scoring, I still felt the team could’ve done more; when you look at the players the manager has got at his disposal, it’s fair to say you should be expecting the team to create a lot more chances than they have done.
‘You could even say that, as far as performances are concerned, you’d still say there’s a hell of a gap between Chelsea and the top two in the division. Obviously, the aim this year would have been to close that gap, so on that front you’d have to say it’s been pretty disappointing.
‘That being said, under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea do seem to win the games that matter, and you wouldn’t count Chelsea out of finishing the season with a trophy.’