As debuts go, Asmir Begovic is unlikely to look back on his first match in a Chelsea goalkeeper’s jersey with any level of fondness.
Having replaced Thibaut Courtois at half-time, the Bosnian goalkeeper shipped four goals against a young New York Red Bulls side as the English champions were stuffed 4-2 in the first match of their US tour.
Coach Jose Mourinho described the Chelsea performance as a “disaster” at Red Bull Arena with Begovic looking far from worth the £8 million the London club handed over to Stoke City to sign him after Petr Cech departed for Arsenal.
The defeat was made worse by New York fielding a team of youth players and reserves that play in the third tier of US football with a 16-year-old called Tyler Adams netting one of their goals.
Mourinho felt that double training sessions over the previous six days were the reasons behind the Chelsea collapse.
Begovic was uncertain with a cross in his first touch of the ball before a mix-up with John Terry enabled the home side to find an equaliser five minutes after half-time.
“First of all, I think he was tired, the same as Thibaut Courtois and when goalkeepers are very tired, co-ordination is low, agility doesn’t exist, speed reaction doesn’t exist,” said Mourinho.
“Courtois made a mistake in the first half on his feet; Begovic in the second half was not sharp in his reactions.
“So, for me it is a consequence of that. But he is fantastic goalkeeper, no problem.”
Mourinho also confirmed Begovic will start the next friendly match with Paris Saint-Germiain in North Carlonina on Friday.
“I’m so happy to have him. Next game against Paris St Germain he will start and play the first half so no problem. It’s just a process.”
In fairness to Begovic, a number of Chelsea players looked well off the pace including Terry and Nemanja Matic, figures who were pivotal to the club securing their first Premier League title since 2010 in May.
Loic Remy somehow missed an open goal in the first half with Chelsea leading 1-0.
“Look, you are speaking with the manager of the best team in England” said Mourinho. “We don’t have frailties. We are a top team and we have top players. We started training six days ago and have done 11 training sessions. “
‘We don’t need other players. We trust these players. These players are good. We play 10 times against Red Bulls and we win nine. And the second half was a disaster, but I am not worried.
“They gave us a good training session. If we came here and won 10-0 I would not be happy because it would mean it was too easy. We needed the game they gave us.”