Chelsea stars blasted by Tuchel as manager picks out just one player for praise

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Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel Credit: PA Images
Chelsea's Thomas Tuchel Credit: PA Images

Thomas Tuchel was frustrated by his Chelsea players after a disappointing pre-season draw against American side Charlotte FC.

The Blues played their second of three summer games in the United States, failing to beat MLS team Charlotte despite Christian Pulisic’s opener on the half-hour mark.

Chelsea failed to build on that advantage and let their hosts back into the game, with Daniel Rios equalising from the penalty spot after Trevoh Chalobah’s handball in second-half stoppage-time.

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Charlotte proceeded to win a deciding shootout after Conor Gallagher missed from 12 yards, but Tuchel’s issues lay entirely with the previous 90 minutes.

“It was simply not good enough for the effort and quality we showed in the first 80 metres of the pitch,” he said, as quoted by the club’s official website. “The amount of space we had and the amount of attacks we created, there were simply not enough clear chances or deliveries in the last 20 metres.

“We played a very good match in all the other aspects but in the second half, it took us about half an hour to show some quality and that was maybe for 10 minutes so not good at all – not offensively, not structure-wise, not in effort or the hunger to be the dominant team.”

“If we keep on struggling to not feel these things and to not finish these things off when they are, like, to finish, we will not be the first – it will not be the first time that we get punished.

“This is what happens if you keep opponents alive, if you keep belief alive, if you keep the stadium alive. Anything can happen in football. That’s why we love the game. This is on us.

“I had a feeling they played with more courage. They played man-on-man in almost man-on-man, man marking in the second half.

“We struggled to escape because we didn’t move enough, and ball possession was not precise enough. Our movement with the ball was not balanced enough to escape the pressure. So it was a pretty even game in the second half, and it’s not what we wanted, of course.”

Tuchel did note one positive in Raheem Sterling, who made his first appearance in Chelsea blue as a half-time substitute.

“I saw four accelerations in the second half and they all came from Raheem. This is what he delivers and there is no need for major doubts or huge criticism.

“But it is never important what the manager has in his head before pre-season, it’s the reality that counts. Every day in training and matches like this count and from there we go.”

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