Chelsea suffered a 3-1 loss to West Ham on Sunday as its new-look team continues to adapt to the start of the Premier League season.
Blues manager Mauricio Pochettino has supervised an overhaul of the squad since taking charge this year, but after two games, he is still searching for the first league win of his tenure.
Eight new players – for a fee of $414 million, according to Reuters – have been signed by the club since Pochettino’s arrival, with American owner Todd Boehly continuing to invest heavily.
However, despite splashing the cash, creating an identity in soccer takes time and Pochettino urged fans to stick with the team.
“Disappointed, but this is only the beginning. We need to believe in the process. I think we are going to be stronger and, for sure, be really competitive,” he told Sky Sports after the game.
Chelsea’s day got off to a bad start after West Ham took the early lead courtesy of Nayef Aguerd’s header, a goal which sent the London Stadium into a frenzy after just seven minutes.
Teenager Carney Chukwuemeka then equalized for Chelsea in the 28th minute with a fine goal, but the visitors trailed again after Hammers forward Michail Antonio fired his side ahead with a powerful strike after the break.
West Ham then found itself a man down after Aguerd was sent off for a second bookable offense after 67 minutes.
Despite the one-man advantage, Chelsea couldn’t find the equalizer. Star midfielder Enzo Fernández had the best chance but saw his poor penalty attempt saved by Alphonse Areola.
A debut to forget
One of Chelsea’s recent marquee signings, Moisés Caicedo, was given his debut for the club after coming on as a second-half substitute.
The midfielder signed for the London club for $146 million – a record-breaking transfer for a British club – but he will hope for better performances in the future.
With Chelsea struggling to find another goal, Caicedo’s clumsy challenge gave away a penalty which Lucas Paquetá scored in added time to wrap up the win.
“That’s football. Teams like us, we need to get the right balance. I think today there were a few actions we didn’t manage well and we concede,” Pochettino added.
“Overall, it is this type of game that is difficult to explain. You had the possession, you create and maybe you were the better side, but in the end, you lose.”
Chelsea heads home to face newly-promoted Luton Town in its next league match at Stamford Bridge on Friday.
Pochettino will hope it’s the perfect fixture to jump-start his tenure at the club, which is in desperate need of some stability.