Thomas Tuchel wasn't pleased with our performance at Brighton, but feels days like these have to expected when your time is tired and in need of a rest against such a good team with their home fans behind them.
Hakim Ziyech opened the scoring at the Amex Stadium with a low drive from outside of the box, but it was a very even game on the South Coast and Brighton equalised in the second half when Adam Webster headed in a corner following an excellent save by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
However, Tuchel feels it is a difficult to judge our performance given the impressive and passionate showing from the Seagulls and their supporters, feeling our opponents deserve plenty of credit for how they played, while now is not the right time to assess our tired squad, make snap judgements about the team's performance or feel angry with his squad.
'It is hard to analyse games like this,' he said. 'We have to respect the opponent, it is very tough to play at Brighton. They played it like a cup game, the noise at the end when the referee blew the whistle was like if we lost the game. This could very easily give you the impression that we lost the game but we didn’t lose and other teams will struggle to get points here.
'It’s even tough if you are full strength and if you are not tired. So there are some obstacles to overcome here and I refuse to be angry because it’s not about the ambition or that we don’t want it. We were a bit lucky to be 1-0 ahead and you can take advantage of it, score a second one, but we struggled to show the quality and we know the reasons behind it. Of course we demand a lot from us but this is not the moment to be too harsh on the team.'
Tuchel believes tiredness was a major factor in our inability to capitalise on scoring the opening goal...
'I am so happy that we have at least four days. Look at our last week and you know what I am talking about. Within seven days we had three away games. It’s not only about playing, it’s about travelling, it’s about not sleeping and we don’t do this one week and complain. We don’t complain now, it is just to explain why the performance can look sometimes like this in the middle of January in an away game at Brighton.
'This can happen and if you tell me this never happened to any team in the Premier League before I can only laugh. We do this since November so we arrive in a game where we don’t reach our full potential, okay, welcome to reality. You cannot be surprised. We want more, we want to do better, but in the end we have to accept it. Okay, we take a draw and we go. We tried everything, we tried hard, but it’s a certain level of fatigue that you can feel.
'We weren’t able to press home the advantage after our goal because we are tired. We are mentally tired and physically tired and you can see it in our performance. It’s as easy as that.'
Our head coach confirmed he will give his players two days' rest ahead of our next match against Tottenham on Sunday in an attempt to ease the fatigue...
'They need this rest so badly. You can say it’s an excuse or whatever but it’s like this, look at our schedule. When we arrived at Man City, we had a Carabao Cup game before and they did not. Now we arrive here, they had more days to prepare, they had a whole week to prepare before.
'We play since November, the team that plays and plays and plays and plays. We need to recharge the batteries and we need to disconnect. This is my feeling, this is why we give the players two days off and then we will prepare for two days. We will use Friday and Saturday to prepare for Sunday because then it’s the next game against Tottenham.'