The good news is that, at the moment, there are no new injuries or unavailabilities for tomorrow night’s match against Brighton & Hove Albion. The bad news is that none of the currently unavailable players are back yet, which means we’ll be once again without both of our starting wing-backs, our starting goalkeeper, and at least one starting central defender.
And with this match coming just barely 72 hours after the intense and ultimately disappointing match against Manchester City, our task of beating Brighton for the first time under Tuchel has become just that much harder.
“The challenge, the match itself and the opponent is a big challenge, because it’s tough to play Brighton. [We] had two home matches against Brighton, where it’s a very unique style of play, a strong squad, strong coach with strong belief in what they are doing. There are a lot of things we need to be aware of and what we need to do in the best level possible.
“So, it’s the third away match now, in a row, and we’re still only two days after the match at City. So it’s still a mix between recovery and preparing the match tomorrow because I truly believe we need all our mental and physical capacity to be able to win, and of course, we want to win, and we’re expecting a tough match.
“[They] are not shy to play one-on-one, do high pressing across the whole pitch. [We] have to win challenges not only defensively but offensively. You have to make a point, prove yourself, and you have to step up in quality and be ready no matter what because we will face a brave and very unique, strong opponent. If we want to win, we need to be at the top level.”
A lot of the focus since the City defeat has been on individual performances, and especially Romelu Lukaku, with Tuchel’s post-match words construed as public criticism of our main man up front — even if they were intended as more pointed criticism of our attack as a whole.
As ever, the idea and the intention is to make Chelsea successful as a team, not Lukaku or anyone else as an individual.
“We expected more from all our offensive players in the last match. I think we had enough offensive actions, transitions, to hurt Man City more than we did.
“[Lukaku] is included in our offensive component. He’s a key player, so there will always be pressure but not more pressure than he puts on himself. And we need to find a mix between all the expectations, the pressure, and to be relaxed enough to play your best game. It’s not only about pushing, squeezing, demands, it’s also about feeling peace and being relaxed on the pitch. Things will fall into place when we keep on working hard and this is what we will keep on doing.
“[He] is a key player and we want him to be a key player [but] this is what we do for any player. This is a team sport and it’s not about ten players serving one player. It is not Chelsea and it is not football. Every player is there to serve the team. This is the highest principle and won’t change.”
With Chelsea now 13 points behind Manchester City and only in with a chance at the title based purely on mathematical principle rather than any real competitive chance, the focus is fully inward, on the team and the process. We have to get things right if we want to still make the season a success, which we very much can.
“If I say [we’re out of the title race] now then maybe you will think “what is wrong with him?” but if I don’t say yes then maybe I will doubt my ability to coach Chelsea. [But] we will never give up, never never never, until the race is over.
“[We] have to take care of ourselves at the moment, we can do nothing more and that’s all for now. We cannot get lost in it, it cannot lower our ambition because we are committed to our goals and behaviour. This is what we have to show now, a relentless spirit and it cannot lower our ambition and commitment in how we play, train and what we give.”
The team’s current run in the league, just 4 wins from 12 with 18 points dropped, has been sack-worthy in some seasons, and while there appears to be no actual danger of that despite a few scary headlines and Twitter takes, there’s no need to keep tempting fate with more dropped points.
“I am under contract until 2024 and let’s stay with this and let’s try to stay as long as this contract says because history tells us it is not that easy. But I feel very confident today that I can make it and I don’t want to be anywhere else.
“I feel very happy and let’s see what is going on. But we both know what we need: results. I am responsible for creating an atmosphere that gives us the results. So the focus goes into the process and not the results.
“[...] I am a person to take care of today and to make life easier for tomorrow. This is how I feel good and how I work. It’s what I do and hopefully, there will be many more years to come. But the only thing to influence is to be good in the very moment and this is what we try.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Let’s be very good in this moment, tomorrow.