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Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has faced further criticism following a mix-up with fellow new signing Wesley Fofana. Joe Cole and Peter Crouch have hit out at the centre-back duo following Dinamo Zagreb’s opening goal in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Koulibaly joined Chelsea earlier this summer from Napoli for a fee of around £34million. However, he has received some flak for his early performances in a Blues shirt.
He lined up alongside £75m-man Fofana in a back three in Croatia for the first Champions League Group E match. Thomas Tuchel’s side started the game strongly but Zagreb went ahead against the run of play.
Zagreb defender Robert Ljubicic aimed long towards Bruno Petkovic after a Chelsea attack broke down. The striker beat Koulibaly in the air and left the Senegal floundering in the opposition’s half.
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Mislav Orsic latched on to Petkovic’s header, sprinted past Fofana and expertly finished past Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Cole was critical of Koulibaly in particular but also thought Fofana was out of position.
Cole said at half-time on BT Sport: “Well it’s a mix up. First of all we talked about the midfield pairing of Mount and Kovacic having to be balanced.
“On this occasion, it’s not that. Azpilicueta’s in that little slot, he’s filling in, it becomes a break away.
“As it happens here, it’s a lovely header from Petkovic but Koulibaly’s got to do better. Fofana gets in the wrong position and Orsic, this lad’s been a thorn in the side for English sides, and it’s a lovely finish.
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“Watch Koulibaly, he’s got to recognise. It’s two v one, it’s okay, as the ball gets played up he has to get in there and take him out, and he doesn’t.”
Former England and Liverpool striker Crouch claimed Fofana had to retreat when he saw Koulibaly commit himself forward. He added: “Fofana has to drop there. It’s like they both go to the same man and Orsic has got the impetus then and the pace.
“You think that Fofana should come back there, maybe he’s potentially not quite match fit yet. But it’s a great finish, a great piece of centre-forward play, the header.
“Those two are a danger, there is potential for them to soak up the pressure and hit them on the break again like they have done.”
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