Ferencvaros vs. Chelsea: What Jose Mourinho Learned in Budapest

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured Columnist IVMarch 30, 2017

Ferencvaros vs. Chelsea: What Jose Mourinho Learned in Budapest

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    It's just over a week before Chelsea's Premier League season kicks off with an away trip to Burnley, and Jose Mourinho's players took another step to being ready for action on Sunday.

    The Blues defeated Ferencvaros 2-1 in Budapest, with goals coming from Ramires and Cesc Fabregas.

    Ferencvaros had gone ahead midway through the first half when Zoltan Gera—formerly of Fulham and West Bromwich Albion—escaped the clutches of Kurt Zouma to turn home a well-worked goal.

    Although the home side could have added to their lead, Chelsea forced their way back into the game as Mourinho made multiple changes after the break.

    The Chelsea manager will be happy with what he saw, but what did he learn from the game? We take a closer look.

Distribution from Deep Is Poor Without Cesc Fabregas

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    Cesc Fabregas was a second-half substitute for Chelsea against Ferencvaros on Sunday, and it came as little surprise that the Blues' performance suddenly improved.

    Throughout the first half, Chelsea had starved their attackers with poor service from the back.

    Andre Schurrle, Fernando Torres and Willian had still caused problems, but there was a sense that things could have been better had John Obi Mikel and Ramires been more effective with their distribution.

    When Fabregas entered the fray, that all changed.

    The Spaniard kept Chelsea ticking over in the middle and got things moving at pace, weaving everything together from his deep-lying midfield position.

    He even scored the winning goal late on to cap off a fine performance.

Andre Schurrle Has Got to Be a Starter Next Season

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    Andre Schurrle was already a talented and vital player for Chelsea.

    Since the World Cup, however, he appears a cut above.

    Schurrle was excellent for his country in Brazil, and now the German has picked up where he left off, impressing in his two pre-season displays for Chelsea.

    Against Ferencvaros, he was the biggest threat going forward in the first half, forcing the goalkeeper into a good save while also narrowly coming close to scoring from a well-struck free kick.

    He brings pace to the flanks, and defenders struggle to cope when he attacks them.

    Schurrle complements players such as Eden Hazard. With Schurrle in the starting line-up, Chelsea will be a more dangerous outfit.

Oscar Needs to Be Less Selfish

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    For one so talented, Oscar's decision-making often lets him down.

    The Brazilian came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Dider Drogba against Ferencvaros and proved effective in penetrating the opposition back line.

    He would have been even deadlier had he passed at the right moment, too.

    So often Oscar found himself in good positions to pass to teammates, yet he chose to either shoot or overplayed by attempting to beat his man.

    It was only a pre-season friendly, yet it didn't make it any less frustrating. There was even a moment when Fernando Torres let him know of his displeasure shortly before the interval.

    If Oscar were to play with a less selfish approach, his goal tally might be reduced, but there's no doubt his assists would hit the roof.

Kurt Zouma Isn't Quite Ready for a First-Team Spot

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    Given his physical attributes, it's easy to forget Kurt Zouma is just 19 years old.

    For any Chelsea fans watching him line up against Ferencvaros, they would have been reminded of that fact.

    The French youngster had probably his worst game of the pre-season in Budapest. First, he was at fault for the opening goal with some slack marking, and he was generally found out of position.

    He's good enough to feature in Jose Mourinho's squad for next season, but it's clear he needs some more fine-tuning before he can be considered a Stamford Bridge regular.

    A major positive for his development is the presence of John Terry.

    The Chelsea captain learned his trade from one of the masters in Marcel Desailly, and Zouma will no doubt pick up plenty from the experienced Terry over the coming season.

Chelsea Still Need 45 Minutes to Get Started

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    Chelsea like digging holes for themselves, don't they?

    We've seen it a few times during pre-season, as they conceded the first goal against AFC Wimbledon, RZ Pellets, Olimpija Ljubljana, Werder Bremen, Besiktas and now Ferencvaros.

    Against Bremen and Besiktas, they weren't able to get themselves out of jail either, losing 3-0 and 1-0, respectively.

    Like last season, Chelsea seem to have continued the habit of needing 45 minutes to really get going in a game, which they did in Budapest.

    Jose Mourinho made considerable changes from the Blues' last outing just two days prior, but he will be concerned that there are times when his team only gets started when they are trailing.

    On Sunday, Chelsea played some excellent football after the break and eventually won 2-1 as a result.

    They can't keep doing that, though. They need to be more vigilant at the back, and in pre-season, they've kept just two clean sheets.

Chelsea Can Adapt to a 3-5-2 Formation

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    We've seen the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation from Jose Mourinho this pre-season, while the Chelsea boss has also reverted back to his old 4-3-3 from his first spell in charge.

    We could be set for something different next season after Mourinho opted for a 3-5-2 against Ferencvaros.

    The change came after the break when Chelsea were chasing victory. Mourinho made full use of his unlimited substitutes to pack out midfield and dominate possession.

    It worked, too, as the Blues grabbed a late winner through Cesc Fabregas.

    Interestingly, after that goal, Mourinho changed the formation again, this time making it a 5-4-1 in order to protect Chelsea's slender lead.

    Come the final whistle, the Blues were unrecognisable from the team that had started the game.

    Despite all those changes, however, Mourinho got his wish by coming away victorious. Another experiment worked, and next season, we may well see him adopt the new strategy if the situation calls for it.


    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes