Thomas Tuchel questioned his Chelsea side’s commitment “physically and mentally” after they were thrashed 4-0 by Arsenal.
First-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard put the Gunners in complete control at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium before Bukayo Saka leveled in the second period and Albert Sambi Lokonga rubbed salt into the wounds with a strike head at the time of injury.
Tuchel admitted he was worried and didn’t hold back after watching his side collapse against one of their Premier League rivals with the new season just two weeks away.
“I think we deserved to lose, which is fair enough, because we just weren’t good enough,” he said.
“We were absolutely not competitive. The worrying part is the level of commitment, physical and mental, because this game was not the same, it was much higher for Arsenal than us.
“You can argue that they played their strongest line-up, I think; they’ve been together for several weeks now and for more than a year. They’ve strengthened their lineup, they’ve played the same structure, and that’s the line-up … up they’re going to try start the Premier League matches.
“It wasn’t our strongest line-up and that’s part of the explanation, but only a small part. The other part is worrying.”
Chelsea pre-season friendlies:
- Chelsea 2-1 Club America
- Charlotte FC 1-1 Chelsea (Chelsea lost 5-3 on penalties)
- Arsenal 4-0 Chelsea
- Udinese – Friday 29 July, Dacia Arena, Udine; kick off at 8pm BST
Kalidou Koulibaly’s 17-minute cameo, his first appearance since signing from Napoli in a £33m deal, was the only positive for Tuchel.
However, his and Chelsea’s performance highlighted the club’s need to make more signings with their pursuit of Jules Kounde still ongoing.
“There is no update, no update,” Tuchel told Kounde. “The analysis of the season does not change for this match.
“Unfortunately, he proved my point and the last week proves it. I’d rather not be right and I did my best to prove myself wrong, but at the moment I feel like I was right when I look at the last season and the parts of the game where we fought and how we fought.
“We got banned and had players leave, we know some players are trying to leave us, and that’s where it’s at. We had an urgent call for quality players and a lot of quality players. We’ve got two quality players. -There is no doubt-, but we are not competitive like that and, unfortunately, we could see it today.”
Tuchel also admitted that scoring goals is a concern of his as the club need a complete striker following the departure of Romelu Lukaku on loan to Inter Milan.
The Chelsea manager knows the big picture of this defeat means they are already well behind the levels of title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
“At the moment, considering the last two weeks, the last week and today’s game, we don’t have to mention the two teams in front of us,” he said.
“We were absolutely beaten by a team that’s not playing in the Champions League next season, that’s behind. And it looks like they’re way ahead at the moment.”
Chelsea were beaten on penalties by Charlotte FC after conceding a late equalizer in their previous pre-season friendly after beating Club America 2-1 in Las Vegas.
Their tour of America has not provided an easy basis for Tuchel to work with his team, but he was not prepared to use that alone as an explanation for his mistreatment at Arsenal.
“It was long. It was long, for sure,” he said. “It was also tough. It was long and we could see, we could feel the energy, the energy level dropped after Vegas and after the Charlotte game because of a lot of travel. And the very humid temperature and very hot made it difficult because we are now two weeks on the road.
“So yes, that’s also a point, but it’s not the only point, it’s a small point in explaining why we don’t look fresh. I didn’t expect that today. We’ve also dropped the intensity and the volume in practice over the last few days, but not in a way that we would expect to have fresh legs. So that wasn’t the biggest surprise. But there’s a difference between being tired and playing like that.”
Tuchel added: “My personal feeling, I don’t know if I’ve ever lost a game in pre-season 4-0. I don’t remember. I don’t remember not winning two games in a row in pre-season.
“I’m a big fan of a strong pre-season for everything: for the atmosphere, for the feeling, for the performance, for the belief.
“So I’m there. Of course I’m part of it. Solutions have to be found. We’re flying home now. And we only have a day and a half and on Tuesday afternoon we have to present solutions. We have to present actions, like we, I, the coaching staff, along with our team, to get back on our feet and find a way to overcome it because it hurts right now.”
Chelsea head to Italy for their final pre-season friendly against Udinese on Friday 29 July at the Dacia Arena. Kick off at 8pm BST.
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