Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat against Manchester City all but confirmed this year’s title staying in the blue half of Manchester — or at least not coming to Chelsea. While mathematically we’re still in it, realistically, it’s City’s to lose, even if we can close back to within 10 points with a win today. Barring a spectacular if not historic collapse, the title is theirs.
The weight of that reality setting in has evidently played a massive role in Chelsea’s especially lackluster performance midweek, with Tuchel admitting that the team’s mindset was not right, including his own.
“We could not influence the circumstances and we struggled there. I could feel on Tuesday the disappointment from the players, also from me, that we are in the stage where we are right at this moment.
“But it does not help. We still are obliged and it is our duty to have full commitment — by full I mean 100% — to what we do and to what we believe and to how we do things. The rest will take care of itself.”
It’s a bold admission from someone in his position, admitting to not only (an all-too human) weakness but taking responsibility for allowing that to fester in the team and within himself. It’s a dangerous bit of nuance to introduce into the binary good-bad world of professional sports, especially in these heightened instant-hot-take times.
But it also shows a deeper understanding once again of what goes into winning and losing — beyond just, you know, goals — and while we may have gotten it wrong on Tuesday (and in preparation for Tuesday), we can hopefully learn from it. The first step to fixing a mistake is identifying and acknowledging it.
Tuchel’s been a clear-eyed realist from day one, and as we approach his first anniversary, we can perhaps look forward an even better future together. After all, we’re all working towards the same goals, with just about the same urgency.
“We will never accept it [and] I will always fight against it. [And] even if I can see the reason behind it, that we need time, time, time — we don’t have time and I don’t want to wait. I am awfully impatient and this is part of what drives me and part of what brings me to a great opportunity — to be part of a club like Chelsea.
“I think we are competitive. I think we know what it takes and we have what it takes to challenge for the title. [...] I love the team, I love all the players and I love the club. It’s on us to bring out the very best in ourselves. Where this is over the last weeks, it depends on the circumstances. But we will always try.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Guardian
And of course we have plenty left to fight for this season as well, including, if we’re not careful, a top-four finish.
So let’s try, yes. But also, do.