No streak in football is infinite, and head coaches are well aware of that. What they try to do is to extend positive streaks for as long as possible, doing enough changes to keep players fresh while maintaining momentum, and hopefully picking up good results as a product of their management/adjustments.
Thomas Tuchel has been a master at that for most of his career in top football, and his current Chelsea team is a great showcase of that. Even in moments where said streak seems closest to ending, as it happened today when Manchester United opened the scoreline with their first shot at goal of the entire match at Stamford Bridge, you can see the drive on the pitch not to let the ball drop in such a manner.
Some also say that there is not such a thing as a “deserved result” in the sport. More often than not, football is a game of inches. And even though we dominated almost every meaningful and positive statistic that we are able to collect in this high-flowing, highly fluid physical activity, that does not warrant us more or fewer points. But neither you nor Tuchel can deny Chelsea did every single thing in their capacity to avoid a major upset at the Bridge.
“For sure, this match, it’s hard to imagine that you can drop points, because we were the better team and we were the team who set the rhythm and intensity and high ball wins. We’re disappointed but we have no regrets.
“This can happen in football, we know it. It does not feel good when it happens, but it’s like this.
“I told the team I am happy with their performance and the way we played. I’m happy with the way we play and I’m happy with the courage that we show and the intensity and the will and the intensity. It’s a hungry team and a team that plays with a lot of effort and this is what I like, because it’s exciting to coach and also exciting to watch.”
Another thing about streaks, is that it is very difficult to simply repeat or emulate great performances right after they happen. And we just had one of our best performances — and results — less than a week ago, beating Juventus 4-0 without a true centre-forward to lead our offense.
Even then, moments such as Thiago Silva’s clearance off the line right after Chelsea got the opening goal against the Old Lady show how the inches are important in creating momentum during games to turn what could have been a simple 1-1 draw into a lopsided win to the hosts.
“When you play a game like against Juventus, if you maybe don’t score the first goal from a set-piece or if Thiago doesn’t save the Morata chance on the line, it’s always possible you play the exact same game and you play a draw. This can happen.
“We don’t want it to happen and we try hard to get the reward for performances like this, but I’m absolutely happy with what the players put in.”
But what has been done, has been done. It was unfortunately not enough to put another win in our Premier League column, and so Chelsea’s advantage over second-place Manchester City has reduced to a single point from three in the previous round. But not all is lost, especially if we improve on the things we are already doing quite right.
“We created chances, we created deliveries, we had a huge amount of shots. Can we take them better? Yes.
“We had so many high ball recoveries, can we maybe create a bit more chances and superiority out of them? Yes, maybe.
“But we put in an effort and I think the spectators feel that so the energy is right, the quality is right, the result is the result. It is today not in our favour. It should be, but we have to accept it.”
Manchester United’s goal came after what many — including Tuchel — will deem a mistake by Jorginho. An unusual one, really, given how calm he usually is on the ball and how he was left all by himself during one of our offensive plays in the beginning of the second half, having to defend against two United speedsters.
For most teams, and players even, that would be a mistake so costly that some sort of “snowball effect” would have been expected. Luckily neither Chelsea nor Jorginho are in this group. Both the group and the player showed nerves of steel by keeping themselves level-headed and playing for the win, with the captain converting the tying goal from the spot kick a few minutes later.
“It’s very unusual, a mistake like this and to concede a goal like this for us in general, and especially with Jorgi. I think he misjudged the situation and he was heavily disturbed from the lights so he did not see the ball in the end.
“But it takes a lot of courage and personality to not be affected during the match, to have the courage to take the penalty for the equaliser in a crucial moment. I’m very happy that he did it.”
-Thomas Tuchel; Source: Chelsea FC
And so are we.