Thomas Tuchel remains unbeaten as Chelsea head coach, but today’s 1-1 draw at St Mary’s wasn’t anything to be happy about. Chelsea may have dominated possession, but posed little threat on the opposition goal, especially after the first quarter of an hour.
And thanks to a rare lapse in said dominance, and concentration, a second-half penalty was only good enough for a share of the spoils against a team that had come in on the back of an historic six-match losing streak. A win might have put a positive spin on the performance, but as it was, we were left to rue the lack of a cutting edge in the final third.
That’s of course a not at all unfamiliar problem at Chelsea, and one that Tuchel has yet to truly solve. Before the game, Tuchel urged focus and said he’s still learning about his players. One imagines he learned a few harsh lessons today.
“We not only had possession but good possession in the opponent half [but] in the last 20 metres we lacked quality and that is the truth. We lacked determination, aggressiveness and more one on one chances. We controlled 80 metres, all counter attacks [but] when you control the match like this and you need a penalty to score, you see the problem is clear.
“I think we ended almost every chance ourselves, there was no need to save balls or do spectacular defending. We made wrong decisions, slipping, hitting balls too hard, too short, to the wrong guy, in the wrong moment, overall it was not enough danger when you are there. We lacked precision, that is clear.
“[...] we need to take the opportunities for counter-attacks, use our speed better and if we don’t do it, it gets harder and harder to score. We did not take the chances today.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
It only gets harder for Chelsea from here, with Atlético Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool (just recently rescheduled), Everton, Leeds United, and Atlético again coming up in the next three weeks.
We had been making what felt like steady progress. Today was a step back. How will we react?