Chelsea are without a Premier League win in their last four games after drawing 1-1 with Brighton.
The result leaves them twelve points behind leaders Manchester City, and manager Thomas Tuchel says his team’s fatigue is not helping their form.
“We looked tired, and we are. It’s like this. We knew they’re well prepared. They had more time, less games to prepare”, he said after watching Adam Webster score a second half equaliser for the hosts on the south coast.
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“We tried everything but we were mentally, mentally tired”, said Tuchel, whose team has already played six fixtures in January, following on from the nine matches they faced in December.
"We need some days off"
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The result puts another dent in Chelsea’s title challenge, but Tuchel does not want to put additional pressure on his squad, saying “in the moment, it’s difficult to be too harsh on our players, because I know what’s going on”.
Hakim Ziyech gave the London club the lead, but appeared not to celebrate his strike.
Tuchel thinks that was again to do with the tiredness throughout his team, saying “we were saving energy even there. That’s my feeling of the moment and the team right now”.
Ziyech is a player who has received criticism for his performances this season, while Romelu Lukaku – who has also had his fair share of run-ins with the club’s management – was visibly frustrated during the match after failing on a number of occasions to link up with the Moroccan.
Tuchel thinks his players should not be whinging if their performances are scrutinised, saying “it’s normal that they don’t like it that we say we want more from them”.
As for Brighton, they are now unbeaten in six top flight games, and sit ninth in the table.
Webster, who captained the Graham Potter's team, was named man of the match and was delighted with his side, saying, “we were the better team. Stuck in there as we have all season. We’ve gone behind a lot this season, but showed character to come back.”
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