Brentford hammering should be a wake-up call for Chelsea ahead of Real Madrid clash


f Thomas Tuchel is desperate for positives after that stunning 4-1 loss to Brentford, he can take solace in the fact that at least it wasn’t against Real Madrid.

Chelsea host the Spanish giants in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday and if they are as abject as this they can say goodbye to the trophy they won at Porto last May.

It was a collapse of spectacular proportions – the European champions were suffering from a hangover after Antonio Rudiger’s superb 35-yard goal prompted raucous celebrations.

From there it all went downhill dramatically, with Chelsea players stunned as Brentford scored three in 10 minutes and then added a fourth in the closing stages.

Invited fans rejoiced as they sang, “We want five” and “Can we play you every week?”

Perhaps most relevant was the chant of, “We are standing still!

Victory for Thomas Frank’s side nearly secured the Premier League and, momentarily, made Chelsea forget about talks of takeovers and penalties.

A day that began with fans gathering in disappointing protest at the Ricketts family’s bid to buy the club ended in a soul-searching defeat for Real.

The Champions League is the priority – and Chelsea simply cannot afford to defend in such a sloppy way against Carlo Ancelotti’s side or waste so many chances in the final third.

It was their heaviest defeat of the season – the second heaviest of Tuchel’s reign after losing 5-2 to West Brom last season.

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It was equally shocking and another bright spot for Tuchel will be that his side recovered enough after that to stage a run that saw them reach the FA Cup and Champions League final – before to be crowned kings of Europe.

It’s all about hanging on to straws as there won’t be much to comfort the German after such a disappointing experience.

He will have been alarmed by the way his players failed to respond to Brentford’s onslaught after Rudiger’s piledriver three minutes after half-time.

His defense was in tatters, with Cesar Azpilicueta particularly exposed.

On the other side, Kai Havertz was guilty of squandering two golden chances to get them back in the game – failing to hit the target each time – and Timo Werner was once again frustrated.

Tuchel will almost certainly return to a 3-4-3 formation against Real – having played a flat-back four which has been in tatters.

It was the day of false dawns at Stamford Bridge and a reminder that nothing is ever routine when it comes to this club.

A protest against the Ricketts went almost without notice as barely 100 fans gathered outside the pitch before kick-off.

Inside, plans to erect a banner against the American family were abandoned.

Rudiger’s strike, which clipped inside the post past David Raya, should have offered a 13th win in 14 games. Instead, it sparked the toughest games in life and left Chelsea desperately restless as it quickly spiraled out of their control.

Vitaly Janelt passed Edouard Mendy two minutes after coming behind, with Cesar Azpilicueta dragged out of position.

In the 54th minute, Christian Eriksen continued his personal fairy tale, cutting Mendy from close range.

Janelt struck again on the hour mark to make it 3-1.

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Chelsea had their chances to come back in the game, but Havertz fired wide one-on-one with Raya and then headed in just six yards.

We cannot expect such debauchery to go unpunished against Real.

Chelsea’s misery ended when Yoane Wissa struck two minutes after coming on as a substitute.

It was a day to forget for Tuchel – and certainly not to be repeated on Wednesday evening.

standard Sport

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