Bridge says Chelsea must address 'leadership problem'

Wayne Bridge | Chelsea
The former Blues left-back says the club needs to sign leaders in the off-season after a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2017-18

Former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge has partly attributed the club's recent struggles to a lack of leadership. 

Bridge played for the Blues between 2003 and 2009, a time when some of the most legendary players in the club's history called Stamford Bridge home. 

The left-back, who retired in 2014, says Chelsea were lifted by the leadership of some of those players during his time at the club. 

"When I think back to that time, I think of a whole team of leaders," Bridge told Sky Sports.

"We had Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole…"

When assessing the current Chelsea squad, which finished a disappointing fifth in the Premier League this season, Bridge sees a notable difference in comparison to his time with the club. 

"I think there is definitely a leadership problem, 100 per cent," Bridge said of a team that lost stalwarts Terry and Nemanja Matic last summer.

"I look at Chelsea now and I don't see a lot of leaders. I think it's something they need to address if they are going to compete for titles. They need to spend money and look to bring in those types of players.

"Not just good-quality players, but players who have got a bit of character, players who can lead the team through difficult moments.

"You don't just want one player leading the team. A major part of being successful is having a group of players who can provide leadership."

Chelsea will also likely have to find leadership from a new manager in 2018-19, with Antonio Conte widely expected to depart after Saturday's FA Cup final. 

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"He came in and did really well last year and everyone wants long-term stability, but I've said for a while that I didn't think he would be there next season," Bridge said of the Italian.

"I look at the signings the club made. When Conte has talked about them, he has never been that positive, which suggests he didn't sign them himself.

"From the outside, it looks like there have been issues there."