Neville names two positives for Chelsea against Fulham as Hoddle claims only one star is a ‘shoo-in’

Date published: Saturday 4th February 2023 10:27 - Joe Williams

Gary Neville talks about Chelsea

Gary Neville thinks Chelsea defender Thiago Silva needs to “somehow hold that dressing room together” after their 0-0 draw against Fulham.

The Blues were held to a goalless draw on Friday night in the Premier League as they temporarily moved above Liverpool into ninth position.

Their indifferent form extended to just one win in six Premier League matches with £106.5million deadline day signing Enzo Fernandez kept quiet for much of the match.

It will take time for all their new signings to settle after Chelsea spent £315m on new signings but optimism is running short at Stamford Bridge.

However, Neville thought new signing Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva put in good performances at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

“The big positives for me were the centre-backs. [Jamie Carragher] has mentioned Badiashile but I thought Thiago Silva was sensational,” Neville said on Sky Sports.

“He just impresses me every time I see him. He’s a world-class player, obviously. He could be so important – he is so important – to them.

“He has to somehow hold that dressing room together because there’s going to be some very upset, disappointed and dejected characters.

“We’ve just seen a group of players train here out on the pitch after the game at nearly 11pm at night. They are players, trust me, who want to be playing in the first team, they want minutes on the pitch.

“They don’t want to be training at 11pm at night in an empty stadium, and there’s going to be a lot of that this season for that Chelsea squad.”

Despite spending huge amounts of money in the last two transfer windows, Neville reckons Chelsea owner Todd Boehly will have to pull out his chequebook again in the summer.

Neville added: “It was like they never came off line Chelsea at all. It felt like the full-back got the ball for Chelsea, the wide player was in the same line. I never saw any diagonal runs that full-backs hate – I know that you hate that run in behind you, that diagonal run.

“It just felt to me like everything was really basic from Chelsea and I think that’s just purely the fact that Graham Potter hasn’t had time to work with them and he hasn’t had that time to develop the next stage of the piece of the work. But he’s gonna need some time here!

“The problem is, you look at Chelsea’s front three – they played two front threes tonight, the one that started and the one that came on – and I thought, ‘That needs to improve’. The midfield three I thought, ‘That needs to improve’.

“So even though they’ve spent £600million, I looked at every department of the team and thought they still needed to get a lot better. I don’t know if that’s a worry or that will just come in time. Not that impressed but it’s going to take a lot of time for those players to settle in, it’s far too early to judge them I suspect.”

Former England international Glenn Hoddle reckons Chelsea are so far away from finding their best starting XI that Silva is currently the only “shoo-in” under Potter.

Hoddle told Premier League Productions: “They’re not quite there. There’s something missing there and it’s difficult for Graham Potter to pick his best team, he doesn’t know his best team by any means.

“Even going into the transfer window he was still trying to find his system and balance in all departments. I think Thiago Silva is a shoo-in, he’s a must, but everyone else it’s a mishmash.

“There’s a lot of work to do. He’s got some lovely material to make a beautiful suit but it’s going to take more time with so many new players.”

READ MORE: Arsenal fans are ‘more obsessed’ with Chelsea than winning the title. Can Graham Potter even do this?

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