Tuchel bemoans Chelsea mistakes after West Ham win 3-2
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that the Blues will be without five key stars for Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Zenit. At present, the quest to top Group H hangs in the balance and the west London side may need a victory to pip Juventus to the group’s summit.
Chelsea’s turbulent run of form continued on Saturday when West Ham delighted their home crowd by pulling off a dramatic 3-2 victory.
That saw the Blues slip to third in the Premier League in what is shaping up to be a hugely competitive title race.
But with domestic duties aside, Tuchel and the Blues have already turned their attention towards their midweek meeting with Zenit, and victory could be crucial in topping the group.
Juventus are at home to Malmo on Wednesday in Group H’s other fixture, and with victory likely, Chelsea could be left to rue five injury absentees if they fail to match Juve’s result.
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Speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon, Tuchel confirmed: “Ben Chilwell is out, N’Golo [Kante] is out, Trevoh Chalobah is out, Mateo Kovacic is out, and Jorginho is out.”
Indeed, Chilwell has been out for a number of weeks, leaving Marcos Alonso to fill in capably at left-wing-back.
While Chalobah has been an exciting defender in flashes this campaign, he is far from a nailed-on starter at Stamford Bridge and Tuchel should have more than enough cover to avert disaster on Wednesday.
The real problem, however, lies in midfield, with three of Chelsea’s most experienced campaigners set to miss out on their trip to Russia.
In the absence of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic, the Blues are likely to turn towards the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Saul Niguez to sure up the middle of the park.
That may come as a slight concern, given the former two’s standing as more attack-minded midfielders, and the latter’s poor form since making a Deadline Day switch from Atletico Madrid.
Even so, Tuchel’s side could benefit from the gradual return of talisman Romelu Lukaku up front, and the continued excellence of defensive stalwart Thiago Silva.
Despite their rocky run of recent form, the manager does not seem overly discouraged about their prospects for the season going forward.
“We dropped some points against Man Utd, found a solution to win at Watford, and we lost with a freak shot against West Ham,” Tuchel added.
“We had this before. We lost games and we don’t like it. We’re not worried.
“We have a certain anger and ambition when you don’t win.
“Everyone hates to lose but it happens. But when we analysed the [West Ham] game, the data, rewatched the game, I don’t think we need to ask big questions.”
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