Chelsea’s pre-season preparations continued to go poorly after they were hammered 4-0 by Premier League rivals, Arsenal.
The Blues won their opening game of their pre-season tour of America, beating Mexican side Club America 2-1, before losing on penalties in their second outing following a 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC.
Following that game, Thomas Tuchel was critical of his side’s quality in the final third of the field, though they have now followed that up with what the German has described as a ‘worrying’ defeat to Arsenal.
First half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard were followed up by second-half efforts from Bukayo Saka and Albert Sambi Lokongo in front of 63,000 fans in Orlando.
While most managers often try to play down the significance of results in pre-season, the Blues boss said his side displayed a concerning level of commitment in the game.
“I am far from relaxed,” he told the media at his post-match press conference. “We deserved to lose which is fair enough because we were simply not good enough. We were simply not competitive.
“The worrying part is that the level of commitment physically and mentally for this match was far higher for Arsenal than for us. They played I think what is their strongest line-up and structure that you see now for several weeks. This was the line-up they will try to start for Premier League games.
“It was surely not our strongest line-up. This is a part of an explanation but only a little part and the other part is worrying.”
Chelsea have a number of players that have a been linked with a move away from the club this summer, including Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, and the Blues boss admitted his side may be underprepared for the season opener against Everton on August 6th.
Arsenal demolish Chelsea 😳 pic.twitter.com/ViDBpbRBoj
— 433 (@433) July 24, 2022
“I cannot guarantee we will be ready in two weeks,” Tuchel said. “I saw today a team from Arsenal that had an idea of how to play to a level of exhaustion and a level of physical commitment that we could not match, and also a level of mental commitment which we lack because we have a lot of players who think about leaving, are looking for other options, and we have players who left. I think this at the moment is obvious.”
The German feels his side are in desperate need of ‘a huge amount of quality players’ before the transfer window closes next month.
“My analysing of the season does not change because of this game. Unfortunately, it proved my point. The last week proves my point. I would absolutely prefer not to be right. I did everything to prove myself wrong but at the moment I feel that I was right.
“I look at the last season and parts of the game where we struggled, parts of the season where we struggled, and then we got sanctioned and players left us and some players are trying to leave us, and this is where it is.
“So we had an urgent appeal for quality players, a huge amount of quality players. We got two quality players but we are not competitive like this. Unfortunately you could see it today.”
Despite all the negativity, Tuchel was however impressed by the performance of debutant, Kalidou Koulibaly: “He was the best player,” he said. “He was incredibly good I have to say.”
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