Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he is personally feeling the effects of Chelsea’s tough schedule and that may be reflecting in the team’s performances.
The Blues started the season as one of the Premier League title contenders alongside Liverpool and Manchester City. They could not keep up the consistency of those above them – but had the Champions League to fall back on as holders.
However, they exited Europe’s premier competition in what became a quarter-final shoot-out with Real Madrid.
What’s more, that 5-4 aggregate scoreline came amid a run of three consecutive home defeats. That is the worst run at Stamford Bridge for 29 years.
Arsenal won 4-2 at Chelsea on Wednesday to take the total tally of goals conceded in that run to 11. Madrid scored three there after Brentford hit the Blues for another four.
Speaking on Friday, Tuchel concluded that the busy schedule – which has also included a triumphant FA Cup semi-final over Crystal Palace – has taken its toll.
“I reflect on the signals we give,” the German told a press conference. “We only had two days between the games coming from Wembley and I felt very tired after the Southampton, Real Madrid and then the Wembley game. I felt it.
“I asked myself what signals I gave and whether I should’ve pushed harder. On an evening game, I think there is still enough time to prepare and get into the right mood.
“You don’t always feel the same level of excitement before every match, you shouldn’t expect it.
“It has nothing to do that you do it less serious or prepare with less quality. I don’t want to get confused with this thinking now because we trust ourselves and prepare with the best way possible. But it is a bit of a weird result.”
Tuchel blamed “completely individual mistakes” from the likes of Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta against Arsenal.
He also blamed the Stamford Bridge pitch but backtracked on that on Friday.
Tuchel brings out Chelsea stats
Having spoken to his analysis team, Tuchel revealed he has taken a closer look at why Chelsea are struggling.
“We have a bad mix of individual mistakes and a bit of a lack of quality in the defensive attitude in and around the box,” the manager said.
“We get punished for it, I am not sure I know why. The expected goals we concede since the international break is a bit higher than normal, and that is on me, tactics, pressing. We conceded since the international break 12 goals, which is double the amount of expected goals.
“Sometimes it can happen after the international break but then I had the feeling we had the turnaround. Even if the result is similar, it doesn’t have the same similarities as Real Madrid and Brentford in terms of discipline on the ball.
“We have looked into it and in 2022 we have eight big mistakes that lead to goals.
“It’s obvious that we are behind and it’s very unusual for me over the last years, I don’t know what it is and if we had a solution, the one thing, we would switch dressing rooms, change the hotel, or something like this. But it’s obviously not at the level we want to produce.”
Chelsea return to action on Sunday against West Ham, again at Stamford Bridge.