Rio Ferdinand felt Chelsea badly missed Mason Mount’s energy and bite during their 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Gabriel Jesus broke the deadlock with a deflected strike in the 53rd minute at Stamford Bridge and the Premier League champions held firm to bring an end to Chelsea’s unbeaten start in the English top flight.
Mount was ruled out of the clash after suffering a minor injury in the Blues’ Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa and N’Golo Kante came back into the midfield after starting on the bench against Tottenham last weekend.
Thomas Tuchel opted for an oddly conservative approach in Mount’s absence and City took full advantage, enjoying 60 per cent of the possession and having 15 shots on target – ten more than their opposition – in west London.
Pep Guardiola’s side leapfrogged Chelsea to go second in the table with the victory and Ferdinand believes Tuchel will be praying Mount makes a speedy recovery ahead of an important month for the club both domestically and in Europe.
‘Manchester City have beaten a contender for the title,’ the ex-Manchester United and England defender told BT Sport shortly after the final whistle.
‘This was a statement performance. It was a 1-0 beating today. Chelsea weren’t part of the game. City dominated in all areas.
‘It was really convincing and just what City needed. Chelsea weren’t up to speed today, the intensity wasn’t there. They were beaten by a better side on the day.
‘Chelsea missed Mason Mount today, the way he connects the team and his energy.
‘I think Tuchel will want him back as soon as possible.’
In his post-match interview with BT Sport, Tuchel admitted Chelsea failed to reach their ‘very best level’ and City were ‘deserved’ winners.
‘We lost the game and City deserved to win. For 60 minutes, or until the goal, we were very strong until the last 20 meters of the field but only there,’ the Chelsea head coach said.
We were not good enough today to escape the pressure to have ball possession. Not only to breathe but also to switch play and to hurt them and to grow in confidence.
It never happened in the first half and also in the second half. Until the goal we defended very well the box and the goal, it was excellent, but this was only part of the match.
The performance was not complex enough. It was not on our very best level and you need to be on your very best level to poach a game like this.
The German added: ‘After the goal, it felt a little bit more like that belief in winning is bigger than the fear of losing, I don’t know why, and we tried to push and got the crowd behind us.
‘City got a bit tired and we could create more deliveries, more situations around the box and it was a more open game but we were never on our highest level and that’s why you cannot expect to get the result that’s always possible to turn things around.’
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