Chelsea had not lost and had conceded only twice in fourteen matches under Thomas Tuchel, so perhaps the new head coach had begun to think that this was the normal face of this team. But this group of (young and not so young) players have been involved in plenty of silliness over the past couple years, including once this season already against West Bromwich Albion.
And for whatever reason, that sort of silliness returned, and with a vengeance, and the Blues collapsed at home, giving up five (5!) goals and sinking to stinging defeat for the first time since January.
It’s hard to even know how to process these 90 minutes, and how much weight to give them. In his immediate reaction, Tuchel was mostly just shocked as well.
“There is no need to concede five goals when you have our quality, that’s for sure but we are all in on that. Myself included. We could not adapt to the situation which is a surprise as we were leading. We are normally confident enough to defend but we were sloppy and kept making big mistakes. We were punished hard and it’s tough to digest.
“I didn’t see the red card, I saw the two big mistakes in our own half before the yellow cards. That is not typical for us, we were rusty. We made easy mistakes and were punished. It was totally our fault. I did not see that second half coming. We tried to give a bit of security with a back three but we were never in a flow. We had some chances but we didn’t defend well.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
Chelsea certainly didn’t defend well, which was a surprise even if two of our usual starters in the back-three were rested after their international exertions. But Chelsea also didn’t play well in midfield, in attack, or on the wings. It’d be fair to say that we didn’t play well at all. And the coach’s decisions weren’t exactly unquestionable either.
Certainly plenty for Tuchel & Co to break down, analyze, and hopefully improve from.
“We were unable to cope with the situation. I don’t know why. [...] What could go wrong went wrong after the red card. We have to accept the big loss.”
“[...] Clearly it was not our day today. We will get the right response. First of all it’s important we digest it. I did not see it coming, now we have to take our responsibilities — me included — and shake it off.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BT Sport via BBC
Hopefully this will be the low-point of the rest of his season.