Chelsea must solve Marc Cucurella problem as worrying trend emerges under Graham Potter

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Marc Cucurella is a problem that needs fixing at Chelsea. The £63million signing endured another difficult afternoon when he was booed off by Brighton fans as he was substituted and Chelsea suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat against his former club.

It was the fourth time in his last five starts that Cucurella has been hauled off early. He was substituted at half-time away at Aston Villa, taken off after an hour against Brentford and then withdrawn in the 37th minute against Manchester United.

Against Brighton, Cucurella produced hardly any defensive actions as he struggled with a lack of protection from Raheem Sterling before he was substituted after 64 minutes.

It continued a dismal run for the left-sided defender, who became the sixth most-expensive signing in Chelsea history when he joined from Brighton in the summer.

At 5ft 8ins tall, Cucurella favours playing left-back but recently he has been deployed at centre-back due to the injuries to both Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana.

Marc Cucurella has endured a difficult start to life at Chelsea since his £63m move from Brighton (Getty Images)
Marc Cucurella has endured a difficult start to life at Chelsea since his £63m move from Brighton (Getty Images)

It was his versatility that attracted Thomas Tuchel to sign Cucurella after he first filled that position well for Brighton in an away match at Chelsea last December but, before that game, he had never played there.

Cucurella has also had to deal with a bad bout of sickness midway through the season which caused him to miss matches against Crystal Palace and AC Milan.

Potter, who brought the Spaniard to the Premier League from Getafe in 2021, says he is fully recovered now and that he is a “resilient character” who can handle “an up-and-down period.”

Of course, Potter knows Cucurella better than anyone at Chelsea and will be the perfect manager to help him through this difficult period. In truth, though, Potter is working with a player currently providing a lot more downs than ups.

A home Champions League dead-rubber against Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday represents a good chance to reset for everyone at Stamford Bridge.

But tougher tests will come after that, with three matches against Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle before the World Cup. Cucurella now finds himself under the spotlight but he has been reassured by Chelsea’s coaching staff that he is a trusted member of the squad.

It should give him the platform to provide those desired “ups” for Chelsea, but it might be too early to expect to see them before the season breaks in November.