Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea can’t compete for Prem title amid Covid and injury crisis after falling eight points adrift


Thomas Tuchel says it would be ‘stupid’ to think Chelsea could maintain a title charge with the amount of Covid and injury cases that have plagued their squad.

His Blues team lost ground at Manchester City in a 1-1 draw against Brighton when a last-gasp header from Danny Welbeck chalked up Romelu Lukaku’s opener.

Thomas Tuchel claims Chelsea can't compete for the Prem title due to injury and Covid shock


Thomas Tuchel claims Chelsea can’t compete for the Prem title due to injury and Covid shockcredit: getty

But what was arguably a major setback came when Reece James was forced into the middle of the first half with a hamstring injury, while Andreas Christensen succumbed to a back problem at half-time.

The German said: “We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players for six or more weeks.

“How should we compete in a title race?

“Everyone else who has a full team, everyone in training has all the power to come through this league.

“It would be foolish to think that we can make it out of covid and injuries. Just play and it would be stupid of everyone to do this without 23 fit players.

“We knew in advance that it was going to be a tough match against a strong side.

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“They come well prepared, it’s always like that. I haven’t seen any one team play a good match against them (Brighton).

“It was clear that we would struggle, we have too many players with whom we don’t know what we can ask for.

“We have long injuries, they come from Covid, I don’t know what they are capable of.”

Tuchel was also upset that a penalty for a foul on Christian Pulisic by Joel Veltmann in the second half was not awarded.

While he also did not understand why referee Mike Dean fired for a foul from Mason Mount before the Chelsea midfielder fired into the net instead of continuing the action and allowing VAR to decide.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss said angrily: “I would normally say never but we have a 100 percent fine against Christian Pulisic.

“(There) was a 50-50 challenge from Mason Mount before the draw.

“The ball is going into the net, why does it need to whistle before the ball is over the line? Why? We have VAR to check, why can’t we wait?

“It’s dishonest if he decides then decide but why is he so sure? Does he want to maintain the tension?

“Punishment is a joke, honestly a joke, not to interfere with VaR.”

Reece James was the latest Chelsea star to be injured during the draw against Brighton


Reece James was the latest Chelsea star to be injured during the draw against Brightoncredit: Reuters

Tuchel is calling for the return of the allowance of five replacements in the Premier League to help ease the burden of Covid during the festive period.

And midfielder Jorginho echoed those sentiments before the game, claiming it was ‘crazy’ not to be reinstated.

The Italian told beIN Sports: “It’s very hard, because we don’t have time to rest. We need to play every three days and we only have three subs and it’s crazy that we don’t go for five.” Huh.

“I think it’s too much. We should do something about it, because if we keep going like this, we’ll have more players injured and probably the quality of the game will drop, so it’s not the best for entertainment. “

Meanwhile, Brighton boss Graham Potter was full of pride as his side pitted against a team with too many resources.

He said: “Coming here is not easy. They have invested heavily in a top class organization and they are a different class to us.

“It ain’t easy but I felt like we matched them. I can’t talk much about the boys.”

On his goal hero Welbeck, Potter said: “If Danny is fit and if he’s enjoying his football then that’s great for us.”

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