Thomas Tuchel has said he was disappointed that his Chelsea side couldn’t set a marker to our fellow top four challengers by taking all three points in the weekend’s early kick-off.
The Blues were defeated for the first time under the German on Saturday lunchtime, with West Brom stunning Stamford Bridge by leaving with the points in a 5-2 away win.
Thiago Silva’s first-half dismissal changed the complexion of the game, with our lead through Christian Pulisic quickly turned on its head by a quickfire Matheus Pereira double on the stroke of half-time.
The second half saw the Baggies add another three and with fellow top four contenders completing their fixtures after ours, the boss was left to rue what might have been with his frustration at our inability to ‘adapt to the situation’ evident in his post-match interview.
‘We were absolutely aware that we started this matchday first and that we were in a position to lead this race,’ said Tuchel of the race for the top four.
‘It was a chance for us to get a win and put some pressure on the other teams around us, who played later. After this result, the opposite is now the case
'I saw the game in two stages, really. When it was 11 v 11 and then when we went down to 10 men. I think that in both of these stages we were not precise enough in the last 30 metres of the pitch. We had a chance to get a second goal and put ourselves in a very strong position, but we did not do this.
‘The reaction after the red card was not the best and we did not adapt to the situation well enough. I had the feeling that we struggled completely. We wanted to start in a 4-3-2 to maybe have the momentum on the counter with two strikers, but that didn’t work out so well because we conceded a lot of crosses on the sides. So we changed to a 4-4-1, a very classic style if you’re one man down, but we then conceded two super easy goals. The first goal was very easy and it is not a question of system. We were just the last ones to react from a long ball from the goalkeeper.’
Christian Pulisic was withdrawn at half-time, with Tuchel confirming that the American suffered some soreness in his hamstring and that is why he was replaced by Mason Mount.
While not confirming the extent of the injury to the forward, Tuchel hopes that it isn’t something that will keep Pulisic sidelined for too long and didn’t rule out the American being fit to face Porto in our Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.
‘Christian was injured,’ added Thomas. ‘So he had to be substituted. He felt his hamstring when he went out for the second half and he said he couldn’t continue.
‘We hope it isn’t too bad, because initially he thought it would be fine but when he went out for the second half, he felt some pain and he said he couldn’t risk it. I hope it’s not a bad injury but just a little problem.’