International Champions Cup Singapore

Don't sing Blues so soon

Conte happy with commitment as Chelsea claw back two goals against Bayern in 2-3 loss

A near full house of 48,522 at the National Stadium gave the International Champions Cup (ICC) opener a sense of occasion. The A-list line-up of Bayern Munich versus Chelsea lent the pre-season friendly gravitas.

But relax and breathe easy. Die Roten's thrilling 3-2 win over the Blues should not be dissected and taken as an indicator of how their upcoming season might turn out.

The first ICC game in Singapore brought plenty of goals, individual skills and combination play to keep the fans happy.

But Chelsea's early lethargy, going down 0-2 in the first 12 minutes, will neither cause Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti to jump for joy, nor Chelsea manager Antonio Conte to rush back to the drawing board.

Bayern scored after just six minutes through right-back Rafinha's 30m grass-cutter. Six minutes later, Thomas Muller ghosted in at the far post to volley home Franck Ribery's cross as the English champions' defence was shredded to bits.

Even the statistics suggest that Bayern were superior, with the German side enjoying 58.7 per cent of possession. And they boasted a passing accuracy of 90.3 per cent against Chelsea's 83.8 per cent.

However, Ancelotti said: "I'm not surprised because we had also lost 4-0 to Milan (in the ICC in Shenzhen four days ago).

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller (jersey No. 25) slamming the ball home for his club's second goal in their 3-2 win over English Premier League champions Chelsea in the first match of the International Champions Cup at the National Stadium last ni
Muller fires Bayern to 3-2 win over Chelsea: Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller (jersey No. 25) slamming the ball home for his club's second goal in their 3-2 win over English Premier League champions Chelsea in the first match of the International Champions Cup at the National Stadium last night. Muller scored twice as the German league champions raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening 27 minutes, before a lacklustre Chelsea responded with their brace in front of 48,522 fans. Bayern will next play Italian side Inter Milan tomorrow, while Chelsea will wrap the pre-season friendly tournament on Saturday against Inter. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

"These games in this period are not so real. Chelsea's defence is usually very good but maybe today, they have a bit of a problem and (Antonio) Conte tried different players on the pitch but it doesn't matter.

TOUGH GOING

It's difficult conditions out there - the pitch is difficult, the humidity which people don't see is unbelievable, it's something that we're not used to.

GARY CAHILL, Chelsea skipper, on the less-than-perfect pitch and high humidity.

"For sure, Chelsea will still have in this season very good defensive organisation."

While the result will not have much bearing on the upcoming seasons for both clubs, the Kallang crowd delighted in the attacking football the teams served up.

Muller's second goal in the 27th minute, Bayern's third, was a bullet fired from 25m out that can lay claim as the best of the night.

Down 0-3, Chelsea began to claw back at last, first with a powerful shot from Marcos Alonso off Victor Moses' cross on the stroke of half-time. And with five minutes left in the game, Michy Batshuayi swept the ball home off a corner to make the scoreline respectable.

Conte praised his team's fighting spirit, saying: "The players' reaction was very good. We didn't give up and the commitment was top. We tried to fight.

"Our start wasn't good but the players showed great will to fight, to try to change the result."

Captain Gary Cahill believes his team are suffering from fatigue after having played Arsenal last Saturday in Beijing.

The England defender explained: "It's difficult conditions out there - the pitch is difficult, the humidity which people don't see is unbelievable, it's something that we're not used to.

"Not making any excuses, but we did a lot of travelling, all these factors are involved in the performance."

Muller tried to put the result into perspective, saying: "Sometimes it helps to lose a game 4-0, because you talk about the mistakes you made and you try to get better.

"In a 3-2 win, you make mistakes as well, but you don't really talk about it because you won."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'Don't sing Blues so soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe