Thomas Tuchel blamed himself for changing his lineup which resulted in the narrow 1 nil loss to Arsenal, adding that his side received a wake-up call that puts them in the uncertainty of their qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League with two games left.
Chelsea were dominant against Mikel Arteta’s visitors but missed golden chances in the two halves. The Blues went behind in the 16th minute to a goal by Emile Smith Rowe after a disastrous error by Jorginho.
Tuchel bemoaned his side’s lack of intensity and noted that seven changes were made with an eye on Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester City.
“It is our fault, nobody else’s,” he said. “We lost the game, it’s totally our responsibility. Overall we were not sharp enough, we could not put up the same intensity as usual.
“Maybe I made too many changes from the last match so I take full responsibility for that, and maybe it’s the last wake-up call for us. I felt it a little bit coming in training yesterday and I’m a bit unlucky that it is proven today on the pitch. We had three days [TO PREPARE], we had a good run and were in a good mood, but the choices were not so good on my side for the lineup so this is on me.
“We were unlucky but we did everything today to lose. I’m not happy with my lineup, I should not have done it like this.”
Tuchel also admitted that his selection suggested the wrong messages: “Maybe also I gave some signals to the team with changes that Saturday is on my mind, even if it’s only five per cent or one per cent.”
Regardless, Chelsea can still confirm their place in the top four if they win a league game against Leicester City after the FA Cup final against the same side as well as the game against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
A win against Man City in the final of the UEFA Champions League will also seal their place in next season’s competition.
The win was Arsenal’s first in at Stamford Bridge in 10 years and it means that they still have a chance to make it to the new Conference League next season.
“It is mathematically possible, we keep saying that,” Arteta said, but most of his post-match energy appeared to be directed at the reporting of pre-match comments he made about his players’ development.
“Inside nothing is broken,” he said. “They will try to put things on me that I never said. You can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt the effort and how much they try.” –