Chelsea still built for big occasions, despite FA Cup final blow, Tuchel insists
Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea have proved they are still among the real heavyweights of the Premier League, even if they are going to end the season without a domestic trophy.
The Blues suffered another Wembley penalty shoot out nightmare against Liverpool as Saturday's FA Cup final turned into a repeat of the Carabao Cup final in February.
While that 0-0 draw ended in defeat after the infamous Kepa blast over the bar, this goalless encounter was decided by the post-strike from Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount's shot being saved by Alisson.
But in spite of the heartache, Tuchel thinks the fact the Blues drew all four games against Liverpool this season over 90 minutes shows there are only questions about levels of consistency to resolve, rather than issues about big-match mentality.
Speaking in the aftermath of the loss, Tuchel said he would not try to analyse the whole campaign until after next week's final league fixtures against Leicester City and Watford at Stamford Bridge. But at the same time, he already wanted to defend his team against the perception that it has been a failure.
"It heavily depends on what we do in the next two games and where we end up," the German said about the final reckoning of how the season has been for Chelsea. "Then I will give you my honest opinion about the season.
"But think we reached now consecutive domestic finals. We reached the Carabao final and again the FA Cup final. I will not promise you any victories, but what we can deliver is passion and commitment and the living up to the fullest and having no regrets and this is what we do. We will not stop in doing it.
"I think we have what it takes to win trophies and we proved it. Somebody wanted to convince me that we had a trophy-less season but we have the World Club Cup and the European Super Cup.
"We did everything to win these two matches but we have to accept that our opponents deserve also to win these matches and they did it.
"Maybe because of the run in the Champions League last season and FA Cup final it shows we can produce peak performances. We have the mentality in the club to shape the mentality of the players to these peak performances. But in these last years, Man City and Liverpool have a level of consistency that we have struggled for. So we have to find it, build it, create it."
Speaking of this week's final, Tuchel said: "No regrets. I told the team that I'm proud. We were competitive and made life very difficult for Liverpool. We struggled in the first 15 minutes and then we were excellent through the whole match - through 240 minutes against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world.
"We created also a lot of chances.
"We looked nervous [at the start] and also had one day day less in recovery after our game in Leeds on Wednesday. It was clear we would suffer during moments against this team but we recovered and managed to stay in the match. We got better and better and more confident.
"I think we proved four times this season that we can produce peak performances to compete with them on this level. All the results were deserved and could have gone our way. The difference is they have a bigger squad available and we struggled. We had three or four players out or had injuries.
"We are disappointed of course and sad, but at the same time proud because we [did] everything that you need. I was sure we would win today. I was sure before the match and during the match that momentum is today on our side. I was sure until the very last minute. Unfortunately, I was not right. We have to digest it and keep on going."
Tuchel added: "We have two days off but then we need to prepare because the season's not finished. We have goals to reach in the Premier League. Life goes on. We have still stuff to play for but it will be a little bit harder coming without a trophy and having the confidence of a big win."
Chelsea could have done with Kai Havertz against Liverpool, but Tuchel revealed an injury in this week's build up made him a non starter and Timo Werner was also crocked.
"Kai did not train yesterday because of hamstring problems and didn't train yesterday because he thought if he did, he could injure himself," Tuchel said. "We had a last test today but he was not better. It was not possible.
"Timo felt uncomfortable during the warm up and said he could not play, also because of his hamstring."