Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly

Chelsea’s £34 million summer recruitment Kalidou Koulibaly has opened up on his struggles at the club so far. Koulibaly played full 90 minutes in the Blues’ 3-0 win over AC Milan in the Champions League, but looked a bit lost as former Rossoneri manger Fabio Capello labelled him a player “with no personality”. The center-back’s struggles have kept him from featuring regularly in the starting line-up, more so after his red card against Leeds United.

Chelsea signed him from Napoli this summer as a move to a ‘big club’ was finally achieved by the 31-year-old, who would earlier become relevant during every transfer window. However, his long awaited move hasn’t gone to plan till now, with the defender failing to cement his place in the starting eleven. Koulibaly was brought in to replace Antonio Rudiger who left for Real Madrid, but is rather finding himself down the pecking order behind the likes of Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Ben Chilwell.

Kalidou Koulibaly
Life has been tough for Kalidou Koulibaly since making his £34 million to Chelsea from Napoli this summer. Credits: Twitter

Kalidou Koulibaly admits he’s still adapting to the Chelsea system

Kalidou Koulibaly was signed during the reign of Thomas Tuchel, who was looking to reinforce his defense following the exits of Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. While Koulibaly was adapting to the German’s set-up, Chelsea sacked him after a run of poor results which saw them lose against a low-key Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League. In comes Graham Potter, a new manager a new set-up for Koulibaly.

The defender has now explained that he is still in the transition period and is needing time to settle in at Stamford Bridge. On the other hand, his critics aren’t giving him a break as many feel he is at the wrong place. Capello, while describing the 31-year-old’s display against AC Milan said:

“At Chelsea he [Koulibaly] has no personality. When he has the ball at his feet he hesitates. He is not playing quickly, he does not do what he did at Napoli.

“At Napoli he commanded, he came forward, he made long passes, now he has the ball between his feet, he does not know who to pass it to and he always plays passes to someone only a few metres away. I thought he had a great personality, and for Chelsea he would be really important and explode straight away. And yet, at this moment, this is not him.”

Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly has backed himself to prove his mettle with Chelsea after heavy criticism was aimed at him. Credits: Twitter

However, the Senegal international has insisted that he needs to play regular minutes in order to get back to his best, which he claims he will ultimately. Responding to the criticism, Koulibaly after the Milan win told Sky Italia:

“I am a player who needs to play regularly, everyone knows that. It is also true that I needed a period of adaptation, I am doing it well, I’m not perfect yet or what I want to be, but I’m getting there.

“I am very happy with this victory and the clean sheet, as it is always pleasing for a defender to not concede. We absolutely wanted to win this game, I am also glad to be back on the pitch and hope it will go better in future.”

This was Koulibaly’s first start under Potter, who will be pleased that his defender helped him earn the first clean-sheet of his era at the club. Meanwhile, Potter will also be worried by another of his center-back Wesley Fofana’s injury which he picked against Milan in the first-half itself. This could well be a blessing in disguise for Koulibaly, who could be granted his wish of more regular minutes in the absence of the 21-year-old.