Jamie Carragher has criticized Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella in his second-half display in the Blues’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester City – claiming the Spaniard “didn’t want to defend”.
City scored the winning goal as Riyad Mahrez went ahead of Cucurella from long range to head home Jack Grealish as City cut the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.
Carragher was unimpressed with the defense of the £60m summer signing. “I wasn’t happy with Cucurella during that second half until he left the field,” he said Sports sky. “When we talk about the price tag…
“If someone doesn’t want to defend, that’s actually worse. To me, it seems like he doesn’t want to defend in one-on-one situations.
“When I see defenders constantly closing in and opponents constantly passing him, it makes me think they don’t want to defend. Get low and turn and burn your legs.
“Sometimes you think ‘I can win the ball and I can go get it’ but when that’s your plan against every winger going against you, it can’t be true.”
Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink disagreed with Carragher’s verdict on Cucurella and insisted the 24-year-old wanted to defend – but had a poor performance against the Premier League champions.
“I don’t agree. I think he wants to defend, but I think he just struggled today. Man City targeted him,” Hasselbaink argued.
“His defense is bad but sometimes he’s also overloaded. He doesn’t get the support he should have.
“He wants to defend. I just think he had a really bad game and City admit it. Their strike rate on that right wing is 50%. It was aimed at him. .”
“He had a really bad game, he’s not a good defender.”
Grealish: I thought Kepa would block my cross
Another Chelsea player whose role in the goal could be in question was goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who witnessed the pass cross the six-yard box before Mahrez touched it.
After watching the match with Sky Sports experts, City winger Grealish felt the Spaniard was capable of stopping Mahrez’s initial pass.
“You know what? It’s weird because I just spoke to Riyad there and he told me that he thinks the goalkeeper will get it at some point. And so do I,” Grealish told Sky Sports.
“There were times when I felt like the goalkeeper was going to catch the ball. I don’t know, I want to be praised for my cross!
“The first time I looked at it, I thought: ‘I played it too close to him.'”
Hasselbaink agrees with Grealish, arguing that the Chelsea goalkeeper is as guilty of conceding a goal as Cucurella.
“For me, the goalkeeper can do better,” he said. “The goalkeeper’s starting position is good but he can get this and if Cucurella is in the right position and the keeper misses like that, then he can shoot the ball with his right foot.”