In pictures: Chelsea v Brighton
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Thomas Tuchel lost his rag when he was asked if Chelsea are still in the Premier League title race – conceding that the Blues were now out of the picture after drawing with Brighton. The European champions were on course for a precious three points before Seagulls substitute Danny Welbeck climbed highest and planted a header beyond Edouard Mendy in stoppage time.
Chelsea are now eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who recorded their 10th successive league win last night at Brentford.
The Blues have plenty of work to do if they are to catch their rivals, starting this weekend against Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s men can move within six points of City if they win their game in hand but the leaders could be nine clear by the time this Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge kicks off.
And when quizzed on Chelsea’s chances of winning the title, Tuchel snapped and launched an explosive rant.
He said: “How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries.
“Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”
Despite Tuchel’s comments, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell were the only notable absentees for Chelsea.
The German has had to deal with a number of injuries and Covid issues in recent weeks but he was still able to field a strong side and bench.
Tuchel was incensed by some of the refereeing decisions in the game, claiming they influenced the final result.
He appeared to claim the integrity of the title race has now been lost.
“This is the reality, this is where we are and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation which you are in. This is what I am saying. I competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home,” Tuchel added.
“I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity or minutes. Nobody knows anymore because we have never done something like this.
“We play trial and error and see what I can do. I will protect my team. We can play better but we need the full squad over weeks and weeks.
“If you see the impact from N’Golo Kante that he has if he only plays 30 minutes. One single player if you add the minutes that he is missing over a season, if you add the minutes over Mateo Kovacic it is too much.”
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