Tuchel concerned about ‘unusual’ Chelsea form


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he was “concerned” about his side’s form but denied the past week has been the most challenging spell of his time at the club.

The European champions have dropped points from winning positions in their past two matches, a 3-2 defeat at West Ham in the Premier League and a costly 3-3 draw at Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League on Wednesday.

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The Blues have been hit by key injuries to their midfield but will look to keep up with the pace set by title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool when they welcome Leeds United to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Tuchel, who was appointed manager in January and made an instant impact as he led the club to the Champions League last season, has set high standards since arriving in the Premier League but he said “small details” were to blame for his side’s recent slump.

“For me it’s a very short period where we are a bit concerned, or not happy with how we approach things,” Tuchel told a news conference on Friday.

“We have the feeling we can do better, but for me it is not a long period. It started in [the 2-1 win at] Watford, but even there we had a lot of changes. I’m aware that maybe things don’t look so precise or smooth.

“We were organised but I was surprised it was the first time we were not physically and mentally ready to play a Premier League match. That was a surprise there.West Ham was in general another particular match where played well in the first half and had a good reaction after the equaliser.

“It’s the four times we gave away the lead that concerns me because it’s very unusual. I don’t want to make it bigger than it is but I also don’t want to look away.

“It’s challenging all the time, in a good way, to be coach at this level. From my experience, I always find it very challenging to keep things on track, even when results are good or are a bit shaky.

“This is normal. There is not a big problem and we should not worry too much, but we should also not look away. This is what we do and I still feel totally involved in everything and this is how I feel.

“We will go through it together. It’s not a big issue at the moment.”

Chelsea will be without N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell and Trevoh Chalobah for the visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been passed fit.

Tuchel confirmed that Edouard Mendy will start in goal after Kepa Arrizabalaga was handed an appearance in Russia, while Reece James will revert to right wing-back after filling in at central midfield on Wednesday.

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