Thomas Tuchel has blasted his Chelsea side’s weak mentality after they were thumped 2-1 by Southampton on Tuesday.
The Blues went ahead through Raheem Sterling’s early strike but capitulated once again and goals from Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong handed Tuchel’s side a defeat which could have easily been more emphatic had it not been for goal-line clearances from Marc Cucurella and Thiago Silva.
It was Chelsea’s second defeat of the season so far, following the 3-0 defeat to Leeds which came before the most unconvincing of victories against Leicester City, and Tuchel admitted his players are getting bullied far too easily.
“We are not tough enough to win these matches away,” he said. “It was the same story in Leeds, there we thought the problem was we didn’t score in the first 25 minutes and then they pushed us off-balance in two minutes with two goals and we could not find any answers.
“Today, we scored so everything was okay but one set piece again, one sloppy defending again, we were off-balance and we did not react to it. We were lucky not to concede a third goal at the beginning of the second half. We were not tough enough as a team to react or push it over the line for us.
“Soft defending. What stops that is pure mentality, stop it with defending mentality. There is no superiority for the opponent, there is no need to give shots away, just toughen up as a team and show a different mentality
“I don’t like to talk about it normally because you cannot prove it with data or tactical position but it is like this. Both goals are cheap, soft goals and should not happen if you expect to win a match in the evening at an away stadium.”
While Tuchel did argue that Chelsea were severely weakened by injuries and suspensions, he conceded that the players who are available must do more to step up.
“It reminded me of Juventus last season,” he said. “We played a fantastic match at Stamford Bridge and, after that, we had Chilly [Ben Chilwell] off for eight months and N’Golo Kante for three months.
“It was the same against Tottenham [earlier this month]. Our key player [Kante] says goodbye for six weeks minimum and then it’s red cards and Ruben is off injured, and Kovacic is off injured for eight weeks, Reece James is off with illness. It’s key player after key player. With our demands and ambition we have it’s like that.
“If these key players are missing you need to show a different mentality. It’s not enough at the moment to win at Leeds and Southampton. We are humble enough to accept we can lose football matches but it’s too easy to push us off track, too easy to win challenges, too easy to bully us.
“Yesterday, we had 16 players in training. I cannot dream about what will happen if we have everybody back, I just have what we have on the training pitch and this is not a lot at the moment.”