Vialli feels two teams may be better than one

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The Independent Football

Gianluca Vialli's squad rotation policy is likely to take a dramatic new twist after Chelsea's shock 2-0 defeat at Bradford City. The Chelsea manager watched in dismay at Valley Parade on Tuesday as a Benito Carbone-inspired Bantams side left question marks hanging over the west London club's ability to mount a serious championship challenge again this season.

Gianluca Vialli's squad rotation policy is likely to take a dramatic new twist after Chelsea's shock 2-0 defeat at Bradford City. The Chelsea manager watched in dismay at Valley Parade on Tuesday as a Benito Carbone-inspired Bantams side left question marks hanging over the west London club's ability to mount a serious championship challenge again this season.

The euphoria of a Charity Shield win over Manchester United and Saturday's 4-2 victory over West Ham at Stamford Bridge was quickly forgotten, leaving Vialli desperate to find a solution - and quickly - to the problem which proved to be Chelsea's Achilles heel last season.

"Our performance wasn't good enough and, especially at the beginning of the season when it's very tight, you have got to be by far the best team if you want to win the match particularly away from home," said Vialli. "Obviously it hurts me much more to lose [at Bradford] than it does to lose at Manchester United or Leeds or Arsenal because these are the types of games we know we must win if we want to be one of the contenders.

"From the past we knew that was something we had to improve on in order to finish in a better position this season. It's not nice to go there and lose but that could be a lesson. Obviously I want to look at that in a positive way."

One solution that Vialli is considering is to put out one team for home matches and a different one for away games. "Maybe some players cannot handle a couple of matches in such a short time," he said. "I think I have players who are more suitable for the home games and players that will give me something more when we play away."

Certainly it was a completely different Chelsea from the side that cruised to an opening day victory over their London neighbours, not least because of the absence of the £5.6m summer signing Mario Stanic. The Croatian international, bought from Parma, scored twice against the Hammers but was deemed unfit after twisting his knee during his Premiership debut.

The one player who did impress Vialli was Carbone. The diminutive Italian striker failed to agree a long-term deal with Aston Villa at the end of the last campaign but impressed his compatriot on his Premiership return. John Gregory - at Valley Parade to watch the Blues before his side face them at the weekend - saw exactly what Villa will lack without the former Sheffield Wednesday striker in their side.

"The way they linked up up-front with Dean Windass and Benito Carbone caused us a lot of problems," added Vialli. "In my opinion Carbone was the best man on the pitch. He was skillful and effective but also consistent. Quality and quantity at the same time."

Vialli's counterpart, the former Chelsea player Chris Hutchings, celebrated his first win since taking the manager's job from Paul Jewell and was praised yesterday by chairman Geoffrey Richmond.

Richmond said: "He's had to put up with remarks of Chris who? Not only that, the bookies have been tipping him as the favourite in the Premiership to lose his job. People should remember we have a good record with rookie managers here. Chris is doing his talking on the pitch and last night was his night. I am delighted for him. It was a great night and a great scalp. But the most important thing is that it's our first win. I must give credit to Chelsea, however. They were very generous in defeat."

Richmond is urging Bradford's supporters not to get too carried away going into the match against Leicester at Valley Parade on Saturday. "I am aware that by beating Chelsea we have raised the expectancy levels among the fans," he said. "It was a really enjoyable victory, but I recall Watford starting well last season and getting relegated."

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