William Gallas proven wrong on Marc Cucurella Chelsea verdict after Champions League display


Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella arguably put in his finest performance for the club with an impressive display in the side’s Champions League triumph against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening. Since signing for around £60million last summer, the 24-year-old had played 26 times in all competitions, and has often been strongly criticised for his performances.

However, the Spaniard put in a much-needed confidence- booster to help his side progress to the quarter-finals of Europe’s biggest club competition. Playing on the left-hand side of a back-three, something that Thomas Tuchel signed him for back last summer with his versatility an attractive option, he set the tone for an aggressive Chelsea performance, and the Stamford Bridge faithful lapped it up.

Cucurella proved many critics wrong, not least William Gallas who was particularly scathing of his Chelsea capabilities. Gallas, who played for Chelsea between 2001 and 2006, claimed the defender isn’t good enough to play for the club, despite his significant transfer fee.

“I have nothing against Cucurella, I don’t know him but I respect him,” Gallas said to Genting Casino. “This is on Chelsea though, not even the players. “If you invest so much money into one player and they come to join one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, normally they are playing for their national team. He is not even in the Spanish national team!

“So maybe Chelsea is too big for him, maybe he doesn’t have that quality to be there. That is why, for me, the problem lies with the club, not the players. You have to buy players that are ready to play for the biggest clubs and who have the quality to play for the biggest clubs.” During Tuesday's crunch match, Cucurella often stepped out of defence and snapped into the Dortmund attackers, winning the ball more often than not.

"I think he got man of the match, didn't he? If the result hadn't gone our way, I'm not sure of the consequences," Graham Potter replied when asked about Cucurella's performance . "I'm delighted for him. "Obviously when you're having a bad time like we've had then you accept the criticism, you have to deal with it. Marc has dealt with it well.

"We've tried to shield him a little bit and at the same time pick the moment. I thought tonight, regardless of the situation, the crowd were going to get behind us because it's the Champions League. Tonight, with Benoit [Badiashile] not available, I thought he [Cucurella] gave us the left foot and balance in the back-three and thankfully he delivered a top performance."

It wasn’t just Cucurella who took the wrath of the former Premier League-winning centre-back, as January signing Mykhaylo Mudryk was also slated. However, the Frenchman did add it was the club’s fault and responsibility rather than placing the blame for the side's recent underperformance solely at door of the new additions.

“Mudryk doesn’t start, why is that?” asked Gallas. “Maybe the boy is not ready, or the system doesn’t fit him and he wants to play a different position - I don’t know. “That’s why I said I felt some owners are just spending money because they have money to spend and they don’t even know if the players are going to suit the squad. At the moment, I don’t know what has happened to Mudryk.

“They will have the capacity to deal with all the pressure, it’s simple really. They bought too many players, and for so many of those players I don’t know what they are doing there, they are not ready.”

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