Chelsea have played three, won three, scored six, and given up just one goal so far this season, including two clean sheets in our two Premier League matches, but as far as Thomas Tuchel’s concerned, we’re still very much in preseason.
And he doesn’t mean that just metaphorically. After all, we had a fitness friendly last weekend in addition to our Premier League opener, and spent all of last week in preseason mode training still. With many players returning late from summer commitments and holidays, we’re still in the process of gaining match fitness, and building chemistry in the squad.
It may have looked comfortable from our vantage point, but Tuchel was not nearly as relaxed.
“I didn’t feel so comfortable with me I have to say. It would’ve felt more comfortable if we’d managed to score the third one because we were lucky one time from a corner with a header from Arsenal.
“The momentum can shift at any time [...] I felt us a little bit with heavy legs in the first half, without our sharpness and freshness. We got a bit sloppy, there were easy ball losses, so there were moments when it was not so comfortable and got ourselves into some trouble.
“But I think it’s necessary to accept as we come from a unique pre-season and we continued with an overload week last week for some of the guys who had a third week of training. So putting all this together, I’m happy how we played as a team, how we attacked and defended together. I think it was a deserved victory and the perfect way to start.”
One scary moment in the game was Reece James going down behind the play and lying motionless sprawled out on the ground, face up. The initial grave concerns were fortunately quickly abated once he was seen moving, though suspicions of a concussion remained even as he walked off under his own power and came back moments later — especially as football, in general, remains rather callous about head injuries.
Tuchel explained afterwards that the concern was with James’ jaw rather than with his head, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the obvious that the jaw is part of the head, and injury to the former can just as easily rattle the brain as a more direct impact.
“There was no concussion at all. He was worried about his jaw and tooth, so he was a bit shocked in the first moment. Everything is alright with him. He’s very well.”
Let’s hope Reecey’s alright indeed. He was mighty excellent today!
Next up: Liverpool away on Saturday. We’re going to need an even better performance.
“This was the first game played and we have a lot more to do. It’s only just begun. It’s not the time now for too much praise or celebration. We keep on going at the start of the season.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London