Thomas Tuchel wants to spend again despite Chelsea splashing more money than any other Premier League club this summer.
He was hugely relieved to pick up three points at Goodison Park where Chelsea had lost on their last four visits, but is aware that a team he admits is in “transition” must continue to lower its age profile and make improvements if they are to close. the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.
With Cesar Azpilicueta 33 later this month and Thiago Silva 38 in September, Tuchel is looking for a young, speedy centre-back to pair with new boy Kalidou Koulibaly, who is no spring chicken even at 31. In midfield Jorginho – who scored the penalty winner – and N’golo Kante are both in their thirties.
There is also a concern for firepower despite Raheem Sterling’s arrival. The former Manchester City man will get his fair share of goals but has never been the most clinical of the forwards while Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic are hardly productive and youngster Armando Broja remains raw.
Liverpool have bought Darwin Nunez to partner Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota; City have signed Erling Haaland; Arsenal have added Gabriel Jesus while Tottenham have Harry Kane and Son Heung-min all players who will virtually guarantee goals. The suspicion is that Chelsea – after Romalu Lukaku’s departure – is still 20 goals short of a season’s top scorer.
While the back three coped quite comfortably with an Everton attack that lacked a recognized striker, Tuchel acknowledged he needs to add some pace and younger legs in the long term, especially following the departures of the jet-setting Anthony Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
“We have to make sure we have a new generation to take over”
“We have a lot of experience, but there is also a lot of age,” Tuchel said. “They have their quality and they know what they are doing. We also have to make sure we have a new generation to take over for the next few years, but the guys are strong, that’s why they are under contract and the guys have our trust.
– There must be some balance [between experience and youth]. I think it is necessary. The game in general is very physical and demanding. This is the situation. We knew that from before. Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] is the legend he is, Thiago is still very important to us at the moment and when we had the chance to sign Khalidou we did it because we believe he has a few years ahead of him.
“But in general it is the fact that likes the goalkeeper [Edouard Mendy] they’re in their thirties and that’s just what it is.
“Rudiger was fast and he reached top speed in the last two seasons. Pace is an issue and speed is an issue. In all signings, the requirement of this game is that you can play one-on-one, that you can defend space if necessary with high-speed runs. “
Chelsea worked hard to beat an Everton side playing without a recognized striker with Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured, Salomon Rondon suspended and Richarlison sold to Spurs and suffered the setback of losing defender Ben Godfrey with a broken leg after just 10 minutes.
Sterling was given a debut ‘goal’ for offside and another close-range effort was denied by Vitaliy Mykolenko and skipper Azpilicueta admitted scoring enough goals remains a problem – they scored 23 and 18 fewer than City and Liverpool respectively.
“It’s been five seasons since we last won the Premier League,” he said. “We have to score goals and not concede if we want to win anything. It’s true that maybe at the top it’s obvious for the last few years we were a bit far. We didn’t score enough and with half a chance we concede. So it’s our problem, which is why we finished third 20 or more points behind Manchester City.
In the end, Jorginho’s penalty was just enough for Chelsea. Jordan Pickford had saved his effort in the penalty shoot-out to decide the Euro 2020 final, but this time the Italy international held his nerve after Abdoulaye Doucoure had spoiled an otherwise excellent performance by beating Ben Chilwell in the ninth minute of first-half extra time.
Lampard: “The penalty was really the only difference”
Frank Lampard was pleased with Everton’s overall performance but knows they must find a striker urgently if they are to avoid another relegation battle. And he could step up his pursuit of Connor Coady, with Ben Godfrey ruled out for three months after his desperate recovery tackle on Kai Havertz and injury-prone Yerry Mina facing another postponement with an ankle problem.
“We had three or four chances in good positions and we have to do better,” Lampard said. “If we had taken one of those we would have come away with a draw and maybe won it, but we don’t have that clinical No.9 with that killer instinct in the box who will take those chances.
“We have to find a way at the minute and we’re obviously looking at it recruiting-wise. We want to have a couple more options and we’re all working in that direction. But I thought the performance was good against a top team. The penalty was really the only difference .”
Lampard has beaten West Ham to the £33m signing of highly-rated Lille midfielder Amadou Onana and is closing in on a deal to bring Idrissa Gueye back from Paris St Germain. Onana, 20, watched Saturday’s game from the director’s box and was due to complete his move on Sunday.
“He is a fantastically talented young player with good qualities,” added Lampard. “I’m not sure how much people in this country will have seen him, but we’ve followed him for a long time. He’s got great energy and quality on the ball – he’s a very good midfielder.”
Everton fans will be praying that Onana also has an eye for goal, such is their current predicament.