Football

Chelsea must toughen up to improve ‘soft’ home displays, says Jorginho


Jorginho believes Chelsea’s dramatic win at Arsenal offered evidence they find it easier to play away from Stamford Bridge and that they have been “a bit soft” in their approach to home games.

Successive away wins in north London, with Tottenham beaten a week before the victory at the Emirates Stadium, were separated by a frustrating home defeat against Southampton. Chelsea have also slipped up against Bournemouth and West Ham on their own turf recently and the midfielder has called for a change in mentality when they host teams that, on paper, they should beat.

“It’s quite hard to win away, especially when it’s a derby, and the feeling is crazy,” Jorginho said. “But now we need to change our mindset and win at home as well because we are losing too many points.

“I think for mentality it’s easy [to play away] because you know you have to fight. Sometimes you go on the pitch, when you play at home, a bit soft and that I think is what we have to change.”

Chelsea have experienced particular problems against teams who seek to defend in numbers and counterattack. Jorginho suggested a change in approach, with more direct movement, could be one solution.

“Sometimes we play against teams that don’t want to play, just defend and make counterattacks, and it’s harder to find space,” he said. “We need to work hard to break that. I think you should push and break the lines, run more behind the lines. Sometimes we don’t do that, we want to play just ball into feet, and maybe we could change that. And, again, I say mentality.”

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Chelsea’s performance at Arsenal reached satisfactory levels only when Jorginho came on after 34 minutes. He scored a fortunate equaliser but his impact on the team’s shape and ball retention was significant. Before that, he detected a similar problem to the one that has blighted them at home.

“We were a bit soft at the beginning and I tried to change [that] because we needed to change our mindset,” he said. “We were not fighting enough. I don’t know why. Sometimes it can happen. Maybe we needed to change our mindset a little bit and prepare better before the game. Because when you are in the game it is quite difficult, quite hard, to change it.”

Chelsea have a chance to continue their streak of form on the road when they face Brighton on New Year’s Day. They do not play a Premier League game at home until Burnley’s visit on 11 January and Jorginho emphasised it is not just the senior players in a relatively inexperienced squad who will be charged with achieving a measure of consistency.

“I think when you play for Chelsea, we talk a lot about ‘young, young, young, young’ but we are in the middle of the season and every player has to take responsibility,” he said. “Not just the older players. The younger players need more help but youth is not an excuse, you just have to be ready, prepared for the game, prepared to fight, because you are playing for Chelsea in the Premier League and that’s it.”



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