Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink claims Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella needs a little bit more time settling into life at Stamford Bridge.
Cucurella, 24, has not had the smoothest of rides since his summer arrival from Brighton.
The Spanish defender was substituted off during the first-half in yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United, with Graham Potter forced into a tactical change to alter the balance of play.
He was the individual sacrificed to make room for Mateo Kovacic on the pitch and allow a switch from a back three to a back four.
There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with Cucurella’s performances as the left-side centre-half, but it’s interesting to note he was taken off while Ben Chilwell slotted into the left-back position after the system change.
Cucurella needs more time
Hasselbaink reacted to Cucurella’s brief performance on the weekend by saying people should afford him a little bit more time.
“He has not had the best start… Today was a little bit unfortunate [to come off the pitch]. Sometimes it happens. He is a good player, He came for a big amount of money. At the moment he needs a little bit more time,” Hasselbaink said on Sky Sports’ Main Event channel (7:57pm, 22 October).
It’s not the first time Cucurella has been sacrificed by Potter early into a game, with the left-footed coming off at half-time against Aston Villa earlier this month.
It definitely feels like he’s still adapting to his role after what looked like quite a lively start in his opening couple of games.
BBC pundit Garth Crooks recently ripped into Cucurella by asking what he’s even doing in the Chelsea side.
There’s going to be extra spotlight on him because of his £60million fee, something he’ll be fully aware of.
He doesn’t need to get disheartened because of his tactical withdrawal against Man United, but the more worrying thought for him will be fitting into the same starting XI as Chilwell.
There is extra pressure on him now he’s in Chelsea colours, but people should refrain from completely writing him off.