Chelsea began the season with six competitions (i.e. trophies) on tap. We’ve won two of those, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup. We could yet win three more, the League Cup, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. But while we mathematically remain alive for the Premier League title as well, realistically, that’s long gone.
We return from Abu Dhabi as Champions of the World, but we also return to a 16-point deficit to Manchester City — or at least 13, if we win our game-in-hand. We finished 30, 26, 33, and 19 points behind the eventual winners in the last four years. Our current predicament is a slight improvement on that, but obviously still not where we really want to be.
But it’s also the reality of where we are right now, and there’s little use in getting too frustrated by it. It’s something that can, by definition, only be truly addressed next season. So for now, the focus is ensuring we comfortably finish top-four. And that’s precisely what Thomas Tuchel’s focusing on, as we embark on a rare Premier League match in our fixture list — the only 1 in our current run of 7 games (2 FA Cup games, 2 Club World Cup games, 1 League Cup final, 1 Champions League match).
“Sixteen points sounds too much, is too much, compared to where we want to be and what we demand of ourselves. But it’s the reality.
“To reach our targets, a realistic approach is also necessary so we should not get confused in thinking about winning the Premier League. Still, we have to realise we are in a race for the top four right now which is a huge thing in the Premier League in general.
“At the end of the season, you can look back and think about the reasons why it is like this and try to do stuff better. We can do, of course, things within the season to improve. This is what we do. But right now the focus has to be realistic and we are in a race for the top four. [We] shouldn’t get frustrated or less passionate about what we do. Let’s keep going and push ourselves to the limit.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Playing away at Selhurst Park at 3pm on a random winter’s Saturday may not be the most glamorous thing imaginable, but we have to treat it just as seriously as we would any final or elimination game.
Onwards and upwards!