Joe Cole criticises Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech after Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City

The Blues struggled to get going in attack against City (Picture: Getty Images)

Joe Cole has criticised the performances of both Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side extended their lead at the top of the table to 13 points, with Kevin De Bruyne’s second-half goal enough to seal all three points at the Etihad Stadium.

Chances were few and far between for the visitors and Romelu Lukaku spurned a good opportunity in the second period as he saw his shot blocked by Ederson.

Ziyech struggled to make an impact at the Etihad (Picture: Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel opted to drop Mason Mount for the match, instead playing Pulisic and Ziyech behind Lukaku.

Whereas Arsenal attackers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka took the game to the City defenders in the Gunners’ defeat to City earlier this month, Chelsea’s attackers struggled to make an impact.

Former Blues winger Cole pointed out that Pulisic or Ziyech ‘weren’t at their very best’ against the league leaders.

‘The difference between the Arsenal performance and Chelsea performance was the performances of Martinelli and Saka in the Arsenal game,’ Cole told BT Sport.

‘On them transitions, being able to get the ball, drive and do something.

‘Today, Pulisic and Ziyech weren’t at their very best and I think when you talk about the structure of the team, that’s where Chelsea were lacking a bit today.

‘When they got the ball in midfield, Kovacic made some excellent challenges and won the ball, then it went to Pulisic and Ziyech and they didn’t find the right pass.

‘You have days like that sometimes as a No.10, I’ve had plenty of them myself.’

Tuchel’s side are now 13 points behind City (Picture: Getty Images)

Tuchel also remarked that he was happy with his defensive players, but called on his attackers to ‘show up more’.

‘Given the circumstances, if you look at our back five and how many players we missed, I’m happy with the performance, defensive-wise,’ the German boss BBC Match of the Day.

‘In the second half we created counter chances. We had one big chance to even go ahead. We lost a tight match, which can happen. It was about individual quality, and we lacked quality up front if I’m honest.

‘You have to wait for momentum. We had the same opportunities in the first half, but from eight or nine transition options we had zero touches in the box. The quality, the deliveries and the composure was absolutely not on top level today.

‘You need top level to get half chances and chances, and that’s what we lacked in the first half.

‘Our offensive players need to show up more. We need consistency. Chelsea is not a place to hide.’

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