Chelsea’s new summer defensive signing Marcos Alonso believes that the club’s path back to stability and success is via improved concentration.
The Spaniard was brought in for a fee of around £23 million this summer and was handed his first Premier League start by the club’s new manager in the match against Hull on Saturday. Antonio Conte opted to introduce his favoured 3-5-2 formation at The KC Stadium, with the former Real Madrid defender chosen over club regular Branislav Ivanovic in the left wing-back slot of the back three.
Despite looking a little rocky at the start of the game the Chelsea defence settled as the match wore on. It resulted in the club’s second clean sheet of the season and their fourth league victory of the campaign. The change in formation was something of a gamble by Conte after he watched his side endure consecutive losses to title-rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. It paid off, though, and Chelsea are now five points off the top of the league with thirteen points on the scoreboard.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the former Bolton Wanderers defender declared his pleasure at having got his first start for his new side under his belt, combined with a win. He said, “It’s the first game I’ve started in the Premier League for Chelsea, we got three points and a clean sheet so I’m very happy”.
The former Fiorentina player, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from the Serie A side in September, said the players were aware that they needed to work hard to earn the clean sheet. The Blues had conceded thirteen goals in just eight games in all competitions prior to the weekend’s match, so the players were keen to right that particular wrong. Alonso said, “We’ve been conceding a lot of goals and against Hull we were concentrated for 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet so that was good”.
Though we now know that Conte’s gamble paid off, he may have been questioning the wisdom of his decision in the opening 45 minutes. David Luiz, who returned to Chelsea during the transfer window, was left terrible exposed at the back and gave away a free-kick that Robert Snodgrass almost scored from. The goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, was forced to make an excellent save from Ryan Mason in order to ensure that both clubs went in level at the interval.
Conte, who took the Italy national side to the European Championships this summer, is pleased with his squad options in West London and believes that picking the right players for the right match is vital to Chelsea’s success this season. He said, “We have different options in this situation and it think it’s normal that all the players must be involved in the project – the young players and older players together. Chelsea is a great team and I tried to choose the best for the team. Together we will win and lose, but it is important to work together and to trust and to follow”.