‘It was a bit too much’ – Tuchel on Chelsea’s busy schedule and dealing with coinciding absences

As Chelsea prepare for the latest of 19 matches played since the November international break, Thomas Tuchel had admitted that the hectic schedule has taken its toll, as has the team suffering simultaneous injuries to individuals playing the same position.

That tally of games is more than any other Premier League side in the same period and five more than Sunday’s opponents Tottenham, who arrive at Stamford Bridge boosted by a late midweek win at Leicester City.

The Blues, meanwhile, are winless in four league outings since our Boxing Day victory at Aston Villa, though we have beaten Spurs three times already this season.

However, Tuchel believes our involvement in the Carabao Cup semi-finals and a Premier League schedule without postponements, alongside untimely injuries and other absences among the squad, has had a particular impact on the physical and mental sharpness of his players, as well as performances and results.

‘There is some proof that the schedule that we had in particular was a bit too much,’ he admitted. ‘At the same time, we have struggled with injuries; at first in midfield, then in the second period it was all strikers and now it’s suddenly all defenders that are out.

‘It’s a bit awkward to deal with and we struggled with it. We struggled to find the same rhythm and consistency in our results, that’s proven, but still the way we played the games and the way we approached them was always okay.’

Yet the Chelsea head coach felt our 1-1 draw at Brighton on Tuesday was a tipping point. The team registered their lowest figures of the whole season for pressing the opposition in possession and generally looked lethargic after a busy run of games stretching back to the festive period.

Respite is on the horizon in the form of an unusual winter international window next week but Tuchel knows there are a big three points on the line before then.

‘The exception from the rule was the last game on Tuesday,’ he added. ‘There are some reasons for it from all of us but still it’s our ambition to deal better with it, which we did not.

‘At the same time, we played a draw in Brighton so we did not lose 4-0 even if it felt a little bit like this, so it shows me that we were exhausted.

‘Everybody was exhausted, not with the same patience or the same capacity to adapt to difficult moments. It’s simply like this but it was a lesson learned and Sunday is the next moment to do better.’

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