Joe Cole laments two key Chelsea decisions that backfired on Thomas Tuchel against Zenit

Joe Cole

Cole believes Chelsea missed two of their ‘generals’ in Russia (Picture: Getty)

Joe Cole says Chelsea struggled without their ‘generals’ Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva with Thomas Tuchel taking a gamble that backfired against Zenit St Petersburg.

With his side’s place in the knockout stages already secure, the Chelsea boss made eight changes to his Blues side for Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

Rudiger and Silva were among those rested on the night, remaining on the bench as the European champions were held to a 3-3 draw away in Russia.

The result sees them qualify as group runners up with Juventus clinching top spot after their win over Malmo.

Chelsea had taken the lead through Timo Werner after just two minutes but Cole was concerned with how his side initially responded without their influential defenders on the pitch.


Zenit scored late on to clinch a point against the Blues (Picture: Getty)

‘It just goes to show if you take Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva out of the team they look disjointed,’ Cole told BT Sport.

‘We haven’t seen it from a Thomas Tuchel side since he arrived. It has looked lackadaisical. You take the leaders out of the team and these things happen.’

Cole continued: ‘It looked disjointed. A turnover in midfield and they were caught. Ross Barkley was caught sloppy [for the second goal], he will be disappointed.

‘All of that stems from the two generals not playing, it really upsets the team.

‘Thomas Tuchel has gambled and so far it hasn’t paid off.

‘He’s been spot on since he got there and put more emphasis on the Leeds game at the weekend but that won’t detract from the fact that he will have been very disappointed.’

Malang Sarr, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta formed a back three for Chelsea in Russia with Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi deployed at wing-back.

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