Joe Cole identifies big Chelsea problem after 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid

Joe Cole
Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Former Chelsea star Joe Cole has identified a big Chelsea problem after the 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Cole has raised concerns over goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and believes Chelsea players are being forced to ‘protect’ the 28-year-old because he isn’t good enough.

Cole told BT Sport: “Another thing I think the Chelsea have had to do, and without being overly critical because he didn’t make too many mistakes today, I think they want to protect Kepa as well.

“I think they want to get around him, whereas a top goalkeeper – like what we see with Thibaut Courtois – in those moments [claims the ball], that’s what you pay the big money for.

“Because Courtois is commanding, he’s a big presence, he’s pointing at people telling them where to go and what to do. There’s a leader there.

“For me, when you’re defending a set-piece, especially in those situations, your goalkeeper [is vital] alongside the centre-halves. You’re down to 10 men at the Bernabeu, Thiago Silva is 38, he’s on his knees.

“That’s when you need Kepa to go, ‘Right, you go there, you go there, you go there, we’ll deal with that and we’ll get in at 1-0!’

“But there was none of that, it was all a bit… We are hyper-critical, and we are picking the bones out of it, because that’s what it is at this level, and that’s what wins and loses games.”