Antonio Rudiger has expressed his frustration at the carelessness of Chelsea in possession, while also saying the Blues should have been more ruthless in finishing following the club’s penalty shootout loss against London rivals Arsenal in Dublin.
The Blues had the best of starts when Rudiger handed them the lead in the fifth minute with a powerful header past Petr Cech. The opening half saw the West London club dominate yet fail to convert their supremacy into goals as they missed numerous opportunities to kill off their city rivals, including Alvaro Morata’s spot-kick that was denied by Cech – a rare penalty save from the former Blues keeper for his current side Arsenal.
The Gunners started to assert themselves towards the break and steadily took over the game in the second half before Alexander Lacazette snatched a late equaliser to take the game to penalties. Cech saved Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s spot-kick before Alex Iwobi scored the winning penalty for the North London club.
Speaking to Goal after the match, Rudiger lamented his side’s failure to put the game to bed during their brilliant opening stanza. “I think in the first half, we started well. We started very good,” said the German international. “We scored early and that was very good, we had also could have scored more in the first half. In the end of the first half, we were a bit sloppy.”
Rudiger also mentioned there are still tweaks to be made in their new approach under Maurizio Sarri, including the lack of cutting-edge in the final third. “We gave away possession to Arsenal and yes, we continued like that in the second half. The final pass was missing, these are things that we need to work on very quickly. I think the second half, it was an open game but to concede like this in the last minute. No, we have to win this.”
Chelsea face Manchester City next in the Community Shield on Sunday and the 25-year-old central defender, who looks likely to feature again alongside David Luiz, hopes he can improve on his goalscoring record for the Blues this upcoming campaign.
“I was happy to score,” said Rudiger. “This is my aim, I always try to do that and I hope to get better [at scoring].”