There’s never a boring day at Chelsea, but even by our standards, the past seven days have been rather dramatic.
From a hard-fought Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Porto, to an outstanding and momentous win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinal, to the bombshell that was The Super League announcement on Sunday, and the intense reaction and emotion that followed from that, culminating in a protest by thousands outside of Stamford Bridge just prior to the match, it’s certainly been a week to drain even the hardiest of souls.
And it all added up to a listless 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge, in which Chelsea were probably lucky to get even a point as Brighton hit the post late on.
“It was not our best game — the opponents defended well and we weren’t in the same rhythm. Maybe we were tired and a bit distracted, maybe a combination and it wasn’t our best performance. We were perhaps lucky not to lose and we couldn’t get any big chances today and there were some mistakes in our decision making. We have to accept we weren’t good enough to win today.
“We were clearly tired, we have had several travels and tough matches and we suffered a bit from the strong line-up at Wembley and the guys could not find their rhythm and structure for counter-pressing and we tried to change the system which didn’t really well. We didn’t deserve to win.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Sky via BBC
We’ve talked about little else than The Super League over the past 48 hours, and that was never not going to spill over to the players as well — who would personally be affected by their changing job situation after all. Thomas Tuchel had to deal with that in his media interaction as well, despite having no control over it.
Focus can be impossible to be maintained in such situations, despite best efforts. The margins are small enough that even a small drop in levels can have significant impact.
“I was affected so I think the players were affected. We talk of nothing else but Super League before the match. Nobody asked about the match before. It is like this. You have to accept the distraction. We tried to create an atmosphere to win the game but could not.”
Of course, excuses are just that, excuses. The result is therefore disappointing, even if we finish the round in fourth place, with six matches to go. Next up in fact is a massive showdown against West Ham United, who are level on points with and trail only on goal difference.
“We are disappointed. We wanted to have the win and know how crucial these moments are. We wanted to be in a place number three after this game. We did not make it and were lucky not to lose. We made big mistakes, looked tired, mentally tired. We did not deserve to win which is maybe for the first time since I come here.”
-Thomas Tuchel source: BBC
Tuesday night was a win for football, and a draw for Chelsea. Onwards and upwards.