Jamie Carragher blasts Marc Cucurella for his role in Ben Chilwell’s sending off
- Rodrygo spun in behind Chelsea line before being hauled back by Ben Chilwell
- Jamie Carragher blamed Marc Cucurella for the incident saying he didn’t react
- Chelsea face an uphill task to reach the semi-finals after 2-0 defeat in Madrid
Jamie Carragher has criticised Marc Cucurella for his role in Ben Chilwell‘s sending off against Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
The England international Chilwell was sent off with Chelsea already trailing 1-0 after Rodrygo had been allowed clear and he hauled him back with the Brazilian clean through.
Chelsea could have no complaints about the referee’s decision, and Carragher outlined the problems across their backline which led to the situation in which Chilwell found himself.
A simple ball over the top from Federico Valverde saw Rodrygo spin in behind Cucurella, with Carragher telling CBS’s Champions League coverage that he did not react quickly enough to the danger.
‘When you play in Europe, it feels different from playing in the Premier League. At times it’s slower – it almost feels like a charity game! Look at everyone, how slow everyone is,’ he said.
‘And this, for me, is European football: how Real Madrid change the pace of this game. Everyone stood still, standing in position, then Rodrygo gets his touch and before you know it “Boom!” the pace in the game is quick.
‘But look at the body position here of Rodrygo compared to Cucurella. He is already on his way, Cucurella still hasn’t changed his body position to run back and on the far side, Ben Chilwell, when one of your centre-backs steps out the wing-back has to come in and fill that space.’
He added: ‘You can’t do everything you’d like to do as a defender (against rapid players). You’d like to be tight and aggressive, but you’ve also got to remember who you’re playing against.
‘Rodrygo is lightning-quick, so you can’t go fully in. Cucurella doesn’t go fully in, he gives himself a couple of yards – which is okay – but his problem is he doesn’t react!
‘When the ball goes and (Rodrygo) spins, Cucurella is still like this (stood still). He hasn’t changed the pace of the game and understood what is happening in that game.
‘You’ve got be on your bike and go! And even if you go early, the player might then stop and get the ball to his feet – no problem, you’ve still go your back five in position.’
Up against some of the best midfielders on the planet, Carragher said that as a player you need to be aware of who you are facing and their strengths.
‘But the big thing is knowing the players that you’re up against; the quality on the ball in midfield from Madrid – I think it was Valverde, but Modric or Kroos could have played that pass.’
However, Cucurella was not the only one to receive blame, with Chilwell criticised for hauling Rodrygo down.
Carragher said the defender should have trusted his goalkeeper to do his job – for that it is what he is paid to do – and that Chelsea’s chances on the night were far greater with a full cast of players.
‘For me, Cucurella is at fault but that (the sending off) is even more at fault,’ he said. Don’t pull someone back and give a red card away.
‘The reason you pay a goalkeeper is to do his job and to get you out of trouble defensively – that’s what he’s there for! Let him do his job!
‘You’re then down to 10 men, he’s now going to miss the second leg, and it still would have been difficult for Rodrygo to score from there.’
He added: ‘Going down to 10 men could have completely taken them out of that tie. There’s still a glimmer of hope, but defensively from Cucurella that was really poor and then Chilwell, the second part of it, his positional play and also getting the red card – let your goalkeeper do his job!’
Chelsea face an uphill task to overturn the 2-0 deficit at Stamford Bridge next week, with Real Madrid having one foot in a third consecutive semi-final appearance thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio
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