Chelsea welcomed several new players to Stamford Bridge this summer, but some had to be shipped out on loan
Angelo Gabriel has given Mauricio Pochettino a timely reminder of what he could have had at Chelsea this season. The 18-year-old winger joined the Blues from Santos earlier this summer for around £13million and, despite impressing in pre-season, he was shipped out on loan to Strasbourg.
Gabriel made his debut for the French outfit with 10-minute cameo against Olympique Lyonnais on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season. After catching the eye, he was then granted half an hour off the bench against Monaco – but by that stage Strasbourg were already three-nil down.
The Brazil Under-20 international was then overlooked versus Toulouse before enjoying another brief cameo against Nice. In the French side’s first game back after the international break, Gabriel made his first start for the club in a 2-2 draw with Montpellier – and he certainly left his mark.
The Brazilian wonderkid was a standout performer for Strasbourg, completing four key passes as the highest-rated player by French media. Gabriel’s impressive display came just as his parent club, Chelsea, were held to a goalless draw against Bournemouth, handing Pochettino a timely reminder of what he could have had at his disposal.
While the west Londoners didn’t struggle to create chances, they did fail to find the net – which has been a common theme this season. And, with Noni Madueke omitted from the matchday squad, Gabriel would have been the perfect replacement for Raheem Sterling off the bench.
Following the draw against Bournemouth, Pochettino offered his verdict on the tie. The Blues boss said: “I think again, it is to talk about deserve but the chances we create in the first 20, 25 minutes, I think we deserved at this moment to score but we didn’t score.
“Then the game was open, the last 15, 20 minutes I think we wanted to win, sometimes we started to disorganise our defence with the full back so high which gave the possibility to make some counterattacks in transition. Disappointed with the result because we wanted to win but of course, we know the circumstances.
“Again we deserve more but we didn’t get what we deserve,” Pochettino added. The Chelsea boss was then quizzed on the patience needed for young players to settle in – ironically, Gabriel settled in pretty quickly in Strasbourg’s starting lineup.
“What can I do? If you said to me we have all of our signings today, no injured players and we cannot win this game, then maybe yes, we need to think in a different way.
“In this circumstance, we cannot lie to people, of course, we are Chelsea. This squad is new, first of all they must learn and feel what means to be a player of Chelsea but is about expectation but then if you don’t achieve it’s normal that you can find different excuses.”