Thomas Tuchel says that the debacle at home against Arsenal was not quite like the debacle at home against Brentford or the debacle at home against Real Madrid. It wasn’t for a lack of effort or determination or discipline this time around that we somehow conceded three or more goals for a third straight home match. This time, it was simply individual errors.
Obviously, it was still a debacle, but at least it was a debacle in a different way? Then again, that’s not necessarily helpful in trying to fix things: you plug one leak only for another to spring up somewhere else. You fix the collective but get sunk the individual.
“You don’t need to lose this match first of all, not with this kind of performance and how the match is running. We have a bit of a bad mix of big individual mistakes and a bit of a lack of quality in the one-on-one defensive attitude and behaviour in and around the box. We get punished for this heavily.”
“[But] I had the feeling — and still have it — that we had the turnaround already. This match, even if the result is pretty similar, it did not have the similarities like the match against Real Madrid and Brentford at home in terms of we were not disciplined enough with the ball or were dragged out of shape.
“The first half was a wild half, an open half, where we gave an unbelievable goal away due to personal mistakes. Once again, the amount of individual errors are too high. We cannot talk around it and should not. I think in 2022, we have eight big mistakes that lead directly to a goal.”
Tuchel’s primary goal from day was to make the team hard to beat. That’s certainly not been the case over the past few weeks. For whatever reason — or combination of reasons — we’re shipping goals, making mistakes, lacking focus, not putting in maximum effort, and so on. Sometimes all those factors are present, sometimes only some. The answer is X) any or all of the above.
That’s certainly a frustrating place to be for a head coach, and Tuchel’s never been one to sugarcoat his opinions and thoughts in press conferences (let alone behind the scenes, probably).
“The expected goals we concede since the international break is higher than normal. This is, in my opinion, the responsibility on me: it’s about tactics, high pressing, deep pressing, and how chances are created to keep expected goals as low as possible. This is a bit higher, not dramatically.
“We have conceded 12 goals since the international break, double the amount of expected goals, so I think most of the times in football it is a mix of bad luck, a mix of circumstances and the opponent making the very most of what we offer them. It is also a mix of individual mistakes, and we lack the real determination and attitude in one on one in the box at the moment to really keep the actual goals under the expected goals.”
Which Chelsea will show up Sunday? Who even knows. Not sure the players themselves know. Tuchel certainly doesn’t. All he can do is try to prepare them in the best way possible. Give his best, for their best.
When things go against you, suddenly the legs feels heavier, the thoughts become more negative, the grind of a 63-match (63!) season gets more real. Things are always easier when you’re winning. Getting back to those ways will require total commitment.
“We never feel secure [...] feeling secure is very close, a thin line to not being fully alert. [But] for myself, I have developed a routine. I don’t feel the same level of excitement for every match. For me, this is impossible, and you should not expect it. There is nothing wrong to feel sometimes a lower level of excitement, a lower level of tension. This is normal.
“This doesn’t mean we do it less seriously or prepare with less quality. I don’t want to get confused in this kind of thinking. We can trust ourselves and prepare in the best way possible.
“We are asking what is it because it came out of the blue, it was a weird result given how the game went. It was different from the Real Madrid and Brentford performances. [We] had a good start to the match [against Arsenal]. I was very happy with the energy and the quality. Then it was a bit like, ‘oh, not again’, and once you have this feeling, it is hard to get rid of it again. [It should’ve been] almost impossible to concede three goals in a match like this given the quality and determination we usually have.
“At the moment, it is a bit fragile in home games. There is another home game coming, and we have the chance to do better.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
And it’s another London derby, against another team on a mixed run of form looking to stay in the hunt for fourth place, who would treat victory at Stamford Bridge as a trophy in and of itself.
We have a chance to do better.
We must do better.