Tuchel concerned about Chelsea's top-four credentials after Everton defeat

By Sports Desk May 01, 2022

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged Chelsea are in danger of dropping out of the top four altogether after losing 1-0 to struggling Everton on Sunday.

Frank Lampard's Toffees snatched a potentially vital victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League for the first time, with Richarlison getting the decisive goal just after half-time.

Chelsea created several presentable chances but were denied by three wonderful Jordan Pickford saves as Everton held out under pressure at Goodison Park.

It was not so long ago that Chelsea appeared certain to finish in the top four, but they have won only once in their past four league matches, putting their position under pressure from Arsenal and Tottenham.

Tuchel insists he never felt completely safe, though.

“Of course, it was always like this," he told reporters when asked if they now face a battle to qualify for the Champions League.

"I said it many weeks ago that I didn't ever feel safe. We are never safe. By the way, if we are in a race for top one, top two, or top four, no matter what the race, the last four games to only have four points will never be enough, no matter which race we are in.

"We have to take care of ourselves. At the moment we don't get the points when we play well and deserve more and we lose when we play okay, this is a bad mixture."

Cesar Azpilicueta's dawdling on the ball ultimately led to Everton's winner, with individual mistakes becoming something of a theme in recent weeks for Chelsea.

Such errors, and how to eradicate them, have Tuchel at a loss.

"What can I do? The ball is free, then give a goal away. It is the worst thing that can happen to you in this atmosphere and situation. It happens too often, we struggle to play without big mistakes. That's why we struggle to have results.

"If there is something I can do I will try it but if I knew about it I would have done it before. I think, for me, the key is to have a clean sheet. Manchester United was a different game, more open, fluid, more spaces, and we finally scored late and conceded straight away.

"For me, this is more like the game against West Ham. The opponent defends deep, we struggle to find space in the first half, but against West Ham we had a clean sheet and played without any big mistakes.

"That gives us the chance to score late. If you run behind against an opponent like this, in this atmosphere and install emotion and belief in a stadium like this and the opponent's team, you struggle."

It was a bruising encounter, with referee Kevin Friend producing eight yellow cards in total.

The aggression displayed by Everton did not trouble Tuchel specifically, though he was critical of how the game was refereed.

"No, no, we expected [Everton to be aggressive]," he added. "It would have been nice to have a referee who was in charge of it – they got away with a lot. He decided to manage the game the way he did and I was not too happy with it, but it's his way.

"That is why it's important to not do any mistakes, instil belief, and to keep doing what we do on the highest level of focus. We struggled."

Related items

  • 'Eternal captain' Fernandinho pens poetic farewell to Man City 'Eternal captain' Fernandinho pens poetic farewell to Man City

    Fernandinho has penned a poetic farewell to Manchester City supporters on social media following his move to Athletico Paranaense.

    Brazilian side Paranaense confirmed on Monday that an agreement is in place to re-sign Fernandinho, who previously spent three years with the club.

    The 53-cap former Brazil international left Paranaense in 2005 to join Shakhtar Donetsk, before spending nine seasons with City, the last two of those as captain.

    After making 383 appearances for City and winning 12 major honours, including five Premier League titles, Fernandinho bowed out at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

    And on the day his contract at the Etihad Stadium officially expired, Fernandinho took to Twitter to pay an emotional tribute to everyone connected with City.

    "I saw. I saw my family proud. I saw supporters that never forgot where they came from," he posted in an open letter. 

    "I saw the beauty of being part of a winning team. I saw titles, superstars and geniuses. I saw an opportunity to fulfil my dream.

    "And then I realised. I realised the importance of all reading this letter. I realised that I made the right choice, the best choice of my entire life.

    "I hope one day when you remember me, you feel the same way that I'm feeling when I'm writing this."

    He added: "Athletes, coaches/trainers, laundry staff, kit managers, cleaners, concierge, security team, door staff, advisors, executives, cooks, directors, doctors, masseuses, physiotherapists, sports psychologists, media team, analysts, youth teams, charity teams…

    "Apologies if I missed anyone, but you know who you are. Today is the last day of my contract with Manchester City.

    "I can only say that I gave my very best and I would do it all over again. The story continues and after playing for nine years, I will become an avid Cityzen supporter for many more titles and victories.

    "I am certain that many more will come judging by the quality of all your daily work."

    Fernandinho signed off the letter: "My memories will last forever. Many thanks, your eternal captain."

    The 37-year-old previously revealed he turned down numerous offers to return to Paranaense, who are now managed by former Portugal and Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari.

  • Botman chose 'dream' Newcastle move over Milan transfer Botman chose 'dream' Newcastle move over Milan transfer

    Sven Botman considered Newcastle United "a little better" than Milan as he weighed up his transfer options, settling on a "dream" Premier League move.

    Lille defender Botman is expected to complete his move to Newcastle on Friday, with a deal in principle announced earlier this week.

    That reported £31.8million (€37m) agreement brought to an end a long-running saga, with the centre-back the subject of interest from both Newcastle and Milan.

    Botman discussed the merits of signing for both clubs following a January window in which neither could convince Lille to sell.

    Milan initially seemed favourites to finally land their man following the 2021-22 season, but they could not match Newcastle's offer.

    And Botman explained to De Telegraaf: "Newcastle's great project and the chance to play in the Premier League were two decisive aspects in making a decision.

    "Milan had also given me good feelings, but Newcastle more so; they seemed a little better.

    "I've been dreaming of the Premier League all my life and now this dream comes true."

    Botman revealed he was concerned after missing out on a January transfer, believing such opportunities "only pass once".

    But he was ultimately pleased to stick around, face Chelsea in the Champions League and depart Lille "in the right way", still joining Newcastle.

  • Fernandes quells Ronaldo exit rumours but hopes for Sporting return Fernandes quells Ronaldo exit rumours but hopes for Sporting return

    Bruno Fernandes has addressed speculation Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking to leave Manchester United, saying he "doesn't believe" such a move will materialise.

    Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last year and finished as United's highest scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals – only behind Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in the division (both 23).

    However, it was a disappointing season for United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his job and Ralf Rangnick failed to steady the ship, with the club missing out on a top-four finish and Champions League football.

    Recent speculation has suggested Ronaldo is unhappy with United's direction and is seeking a move, and Chelsea have reportedly shown an interest.

    Fernandes does not believe a departure will follow, however, and expects to see his compatriot in United training when the pair return from holiday next week.

    "From what I've talked to him – we're both on vacation still, and no-one bothers friends on holiday – I hope in four days to find him to train there. I'm not expecting more than that," he told reporters on Thursday.

    "As far as I know, there's nothing more to it than that, but everyone takes care of their future. I do not believe that the club is willing to lose an asset like Cristiano."

    Fernandes was then asked about the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Sporting CP, where his career began, and acknowledged he was hopeful such a move would happy in the future.

    "It would be a great moment for Sporting, almost everyone expects this; I'd like that to happen," Fernandes, also a former Sporting man, added.

    "He has the ambition to continue playing for many years. We will see what he will decide, I hope, when the contract with United is over, but the ambition and dream of the fans would be to see Ronaldo playing with the Sporting jersey."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.