Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta admits they have to address their goalscoring issues or face another season of frustration.
The return of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan on loan after a disappointing campaign leading the line and the inconsistent form of Timo Werner meant new signing Raheem Sterling started as centre-forward in the 1-0 win at Everton.
It is not a long-term solution for manager Thomas Tuchel and they were indebted to Jorginho’s late first-half penalty for the victory.
“You know, every team wants to score a lot of goals and not concede. It’s true that maybe at the top it is obvious for the last few years we were a bit far,” said Azpilicueta.
“You know it is five seasons since the last time we won the Premier League. We need to score goals if we want to win anything.
“We need to score goals and not to concede anything.
“Lately, the last couple of games in the Premier League, we didn’t score enough and with a half-chance we concede.
“So that’s our problem, and that’s why we finished third with 20 or more points behind Manchester City.”
Defender Ben Chilwell admits the team remains a work in progress but opening up with a win was all that was required from their first match of the new season.
Their first victory in five visits to Goodison Park was far from a flowing, confident performance but after a summer of changes on and off the field – a new ownership taking over, significant moves in and out of the squad and a disjointed pre-season – Chilwell accepts it will take some time for things to gel.
“We’ve got a lot to work on and improve on but the main thing was the three points and we got them, so we’re happy,” he told chelseafc.com.
“We’re a team in transition and we’re still trying to work together. We’ve got new players that have been integrated in and a new ownership, so we’re still working hard and basically we’re just taking every game as it comes.”
Chilwell’s start at Goodison Park was his first significant appearance – aside from a brief cameo on the final day of the season – since late November after a serious knee injury and he won the spot-kick which produced the winning goal.
He played just over an hour before being replaced, while new big-money signing Marc Cucurella came off the bench for the final 15 minutes to remind Chilwell he will have competition for his place.
“We’re at Chelsea so there’s going to be a lot of good players,” he added.
“Competition for places is going to be fierce and obviously we’re going to push each other the same as everyone else in the team.
“I’m feeling good and ready. Obviously it’s my first game in the Premier League for a long time so I’m very happy to be back, it’s the best feeling in the world.
“I’ve been out for a long time, so to come back into the Premier League and have an impact winning a penalty for the team to get the win was a really nice feeling.
“I’ve worked hard for a long time for that moment to play in the Premier League again and it just felt amazing to be back on the pitch with the boys.
“I’ve had the whole of pre-season plus a few extra weeks where I came in early, but it’s completely different to this.
“We (Chilwell and manager Thomas Tuchel) had a conversation where he asked if I felt ready and I said ‘of course’.
“I don’t know if I am but I feel like I am. I worked hard over the summer so in my head mentally and physically I’m ready to help the team.”