Chelsea: Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger criticised by Joe Cole after costly mix-up
Hapless Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger were singled out for criticism by Joe Cole after their mix-up resulted in a third goal for Real Madrid.
Both players failed to clear the ball with the Blues trailing 2-1 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg tie, allowing Karim Benzema the easy task of slotting in.
The mistake saw the visitors ease further in front at Stamford Bridge, leaving Thomas Tuchel’s side with a mountain to climb, and Cole admitted the pair got it ‘wrong’.
Edouard Mendy was involved in a costly mix-up during Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid
Speaking on BT Sport after the final whistle, Cole said: ‘The next goal in the tie is crucial. It’s a huge ask to go to Spain and overturn a 3-1 deficit.
‘Tuchel changed it at half-time, went to a back four and looked a lot brighter and sharper. One thing you can’t account for is individual mistakes.
‘Rudiger and Mendy got it wrong.
Goalkeeper Mendy’s poor pass allowed Karim Benzema to steal the ball and then slot home
Antonio Rudiger also failed to stop Benzema from sealing his hat-trick at Stamford Bridge
‘Benzema, outstanding and gives them a good advantage next week. The tie isn’t over though.’
Chelsea were able to bring themselves back to within a goal of the LaLiga leaders through Kai Havertz, after two excellent headers from Benzema flew past Mendy.
However, their hard work was undone in several seconds of madness after half-time.
Mendy collected a loose ball around 30 yards out from his goal, and looked to shift play across to Rudiger on the right. His pass, though, was messy and under hit.
Pundit Joe Cole admitted that both players ‘got it wrong’ during their moment of madness
Mendy was visibly dejected after Benzema tapped in his third goal during the showdown
The centre back then committed an error of his own, having failed to throw himself into a tackle on Benzema after the veteran raced through to pounce on the ball.
That saw the striker breeze through with both red-faced opponents trailing in his wake, and Benzema tapped into the empty net before celebrating.
Steve McManaman believes the error was inexcusable, and pointed to the moment when insisting that the out-of-form hosts ‘didn’t give themselves a chance’.
‘Sometimes it’s not the teams that score the most goals, it’s the team that make the least amount of mistakes that win competitions,’ he said.
Benzema had wheeled away to celebrate on three occasions, putting Chelsea to the sword
‘Madrid were fantastic tonight, experienced, superstar centre forward. In these tight games, one mistake or a sending off can change the narrative of the whole game.
‘What was 2-1 and a difficult second half for Madrid, became a really easy one in the end. Chelsea didn’t give themselves a chance.
‘The fact Madrid have scored three and Benzema should’ve had more says it all. Very unlike Chelsea to make that many errors.’