TERRACE TALK: Chelsea - Bargain basement shopping comes at a price

I have no idea what the official plan is, whether the club want Europa League football or not, but on the evidence of Saturday’s game one has to assume we don’t.

But, then again, I very much doubt anyone in the upper echelons of the club told the team to play in such a lethargic, couldn’t care less, manner. We get that there is little left to play for but how about playing for a bit of self-respect after such a horrendous season. How about playing because you are being paid to play. How about playing for the fans.

Most of the talk prior to the game concerned Courtois ‘being dropped’. Courtois has been less than subtle or private about his desire to leave the club this summer. This is the same Courtois who gave us an ultimatum forcing us into selling Cech, at least a season before we would have ideally liked. This is the same Courtois who has hardly covered himself in glory this campaign. So what are we doing exactly, ‘dropping him’ so he’ll be nice and fresh and injury-free when we sell him to Real Madrid? That’ll learn him!!

I said last week we are simply free-wheeling our way to the end of the season. But we can’t do that – the integrity of the league dictates we shouldn’t take that route. Plus we have a game against Tottenham on the horizon. Hopefully, Guus understands this is a must-win game and I’m sure those who take to the field will know their responsibilities courtesy of John Terry – although no one at the club should need telling.

I would imagine Conte would not have been too impressed with what he saw – in any area of the pitch. The Chelsea manager-in-waiting spent his evening at the Juve-Milan clash and I imagine as well as sizing up his charges for this summer’s European Championships, he was also perhaps looking at who he could bring across to address some of the very obvious issues we have.

That said, why would the likes of Pogba agree to come to us – and before anyone says the dirty word ‘money’ – I imagine a player of his calibre could name his price at any club.

The most depressing news I saw this week was reports coming from the club are saying that, as far as Michael Emenalo is concerned, nothing is changing. He stays and continues doing whatever the hell he is doing.

This is just unfathomable. Initially I thought he was perhaps Roman’s man on the ground as it were – his spy effectively. But it’s evident he does far more than that - on the club website, it says he ‘supports the work of the first team manager, leading the club’s international and domestic scouting network, and assists in driving the technical programmes of our Academy and international youth network.’

Now at Chelsea, above possibly any other Premier League side, it is pretty evident failure is not an option. So how is it that so many managers have gone yet he still has his job. He has overseen us buy so many duds, but he still keeps his job.

Whatever the reason behind Emenalo’s continuing employment, I hope he has got this latest fad of bargain basement shopping out of his system. It has not worked.Quality tells every time. The really annoying thing is that we are probably going to have to go backwards to go forwards.

When our renaissance first began, we had to buy players who had been some of the best in the world, but who were perhaps in the last couple of years at the very top of the game. They took us to within finger-tip reach of the top table; then we were able to attract some top players at the top of their game and along with a special manager we achieved the seemingly impossible.

I honestly think our star has fallen so much this season we have to plan our re-emergence with a good team, rather than a great team, and that will be difficult. Even for a top manager such as Conte.

To even have a chance, the current crop of players who stay, need to change their attitude quickly.

Conte apparently is quite the disciplinarian – more so than Jose - so hopefully he will not stand for such things. But then look what ‘palpable discord’ with the players did for Mourinho. Let’s hope the club do not let the players win in such a situation again.

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