Thomas Tuchel has suggested that Chelsea are failing to reach their ‘best level’ in recent fixtures amid an increased weight of expectation.
Chelsea host Southampton in the Premier League tomorrow, looking to recover from consecutive defeats to Manchester City and Juventus over the past week.
The west London side’s defeats have stalled a strong start to the new season, with Tuchel underlining his intent to find the ‘little step’ needed to take Chelsea back to their best.
“We haven’t trained a lot,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference.
“Yesterday was a recovery day, those who played 90mins in Turin haven’t done a lot. It is always about reaction. We always demand the very best from us. Nobody likes to lose, we hate to lose.
“We need to respect the quality of our opponents. Also, we were not really bad. We have played good matches. It was not long ago. We miss a little step from 90% to 100%. We have to question ourselves deeply.”
Tuchel was asked whether standards have dropped across the past two games and insisted it is important to acknowledge the quality of opposition in defeats to City and Juventus, but conceded his side had not been at their best during the successive losses.
“Both clubs have experience and players to work you,” he said. “If it happens, it doesn’t feel good.
“Did we play at our best level? No. Man City made us underperform. We felt as well prepared [as we could be]. Against Juventus, could we reach our best level? No.
“It is a concentration game. It reminds me of [the game against] Atletico in Bucharest, we played an almost similar game and won 1-0 with a goal ruled out then given by VAR. It was maybe easier then to be calm and concentrated and now it is tougher again to play away games. We will not be the last team to lose against Juventus.”
The German was also questioned on whether his side are suffering from fatigue and whilst admitting tiredness could be factor, spoke on his belief that the European champions were ‘carrying mental weight’ from an increase in expectation at Stamford Bridge.
“Yes, but it is logical when you play this much,” he said. “It feels a little bit like we are carrying mental weight on our shoulders from expectations.
“Someone told me several years ago that if players look like this then you can threaten them or calm them down. 99 per cent of the time you calm them down. Trust in what we do, what we are, support the group and let the players support each other. We are looking for the last ten per cent.”