Tuchel: You cannot win games like this
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Andreas Christensen admitted he was to blame for Arsenal’s first goal in the 4-2 home drubbing on Wednesday and that he and his Chelsea team-mates need an improved performance against West Ham at the Bridge on Sunday.
The Danish centre-back badly mishit a backpass on 13 minutes that allowed Eddie Nketiah to score the first of his brace.
That set the template for an error-strewn Chelsea performance.
Christensen, who will join Barcelona in the summer and failed to reappear for the second half, said: “I take 100 per cent responsibility on my shoulders for the first goal, it was my mistake. But luckily for me we got back into the game quite quickly through Timo’s [Werner] goal.
“We kept making mistakes though and it’s hard to keep bouncing back.”
The Blues are third in the Premier League table, five points clear of Tottenham with a match in hand.
“We have to stay focused because we want to finish the season strongly and ensure that we finish third,” said Christensen. “We’ve also got a [FA] cup final at Wembley that we want to win, so there’s still a lot of important games left for us to play.
“We have to take a look at ourselves in the mirror because that performance wasn’t good enough and we know we can play a lot better than that.
“I know I can perform so much better than what I showed. We need to pick our heads up and go again now.”
While Christensen is looking in the mirror for solutions, head coach Thomas Tuchel simply could not explain what went wrong.
In recent times he has blamed the players, the fans, the tactics, his selections.
But on Wednesday, as well as criticising all the above – bar the fans – he blamed the pitch.
“It was a totally wild and open game in the first half,” said the German. “We had a good start, but again gave the first goal away, which is impossible to do these things in consecutive matches. But we’re doing it.
“You cannot win football games like this.”
“It’s not about individual players. A defensive performance is a team performance, and an offensive performance is a team performance.
“You need to have the tactics right, which is doubtful I had this right, and you need the team selection right, again it’s doubtful I had this right.
“Then it’s a game for the players. They got full praise when they did it for the last three matches. And they have to face the reality – that it’s impossible to win matches if you make this amount of mistakes of this calibre. I don’t see it in any other matches, but I see it now in consecutive matches of our games, and it has to stop.
“To say the pitch is difficult to play here maybe sounds like an excuse, but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. It’s not in our favour.
“The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball. But still, we had the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round of the Champions League, and this one cost us the next match.”
Chelsea women can edge closer to retaining their Women’s Super League title when they travel to Barnet to play Spurs on Sunday.
Emma Hayes’ side are also in the FA Cup final after beating Arsenal 2-0 at Meadow Bank on Sunday.
They will face Manchester City at Wembley on May 17.