Chelsea was stunned by the Croatian Champions on Tuesday night at Stadion Maksimir. The blues could not turn the game around after Mislav Orsic broke the deadlock in the 13th minute despite Chelsea dominating the game.
However, BT Sport pundits Joleon Lescott, Rio Ferdinand, and Owen Hargreaves had ripped into Chelsea record signing Wesley Fofana for failing to close down Mislav Orsic when the winger was put through on goal.
The French international lack of pace was clear as Mislav Orsic sped past him to slot the ball into the net.
What did they say?
“They bought Fofana for exactly this reason, to squeeze the pitch, play high, he can [track] runs run in behind and he’s quick,’ said Owen Hargreaves.
“But he didn’t look overly explosive in that one and I think Tuchel will be worried that they’re conceding soft goals when they’re dominating games.”
It still surprised the former Manchester United player with Wesley Fofana’s inability to close Mislav Orsic.
Hargreaves added: “If you’d told me he’s not winning that race, I’d have said: no chance.
“They’ve just spent £70m on him because he’s aggressive and he’s quick. I’m surprised he doesn’t get back. Young kids want to rely on their athleticism.
Joleon Lescott added: “Thiago Silva doesn’t allow that to happen. He doesn’t get himself in a race. He sits five or 10 yards deeper and allows that to come onto him and then delays the attack.
“I think so many defenders just want to showcase their attributes, but they’re not respecting the opposition and their attributes might be stronger than yours.”
Rio Ferdinand also said: “Fofana can see his partner is going for the ball, what he has to be aware of is the run. Once he sees that, he has to then identify: “Where is the space? Where do I now cover?” And watch his reaction: it’s so late.
“He’s got to foul him, bump him, whatever, you’re the last man. Or, what I would do—and I would back myself like I assume he would—I would have dropped off ages ago. I would have seen that run and there’s no way that I’d allow him to get in behind me. He just doesn’t smell danger.
“But listen, it’s his first game at this level in the Champions League, so you can’t really go too hard on him. But it’s something that will open his eyes and make him realize he’s nowhere near the finished article yet.”
Chelsea legend Joe Cole also claims Kalidou Koulibaly could have done better in preventing the headed pass to Mislav Orsic.
“We talked about the midfield pairing of Kovacic and Mount being balanced, but on this occasion, it just wasn’t,” The former Chelsea midfielder said.
“Watch Koulibaly, he’s got to recognize [the danger]. It’s two versus one and it’s all ok, but as the ball gets played, he has to get over and take him [Petkovic] out, but he doesn’t. Fofana also has to drop there—he goes in, he nibbles, and then bang.”