Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel angry after Real Madrid defeat and says third place in the Premier League is not a given | Soccer News

Thomas Tuchel has revealed he pulled his players from Chelsea for a lack of structure and intensity in a fixture after Wednesday’s loss to Real Madrid and warned there is no guarantee his team would finish third in the Premier League if they did not raise their level.

Karim Benzema’s hat-trick handed the Champions League holders a damaging 3-1 defeat in the first leg of their quarter-final at Stamford Bridge, just days after Brentford humiliated Chelsea 4-1 on their own ground.

The back-to-back defeats after the international break ended a six-game winning streak abruptly and Tuchel said the defeats were “atypical”.

He gave his players an honest assessment of what had been lacking in their performances this week, hoping to get back on track against Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

“It wasn’t a discussion-type meeting,” he said with a smile. “I gave my point of view.

“We take the players’ point of view very seriously and into account, but in the last two games we have felt it necessary to give our point of view – but behind closed doors where everyone can accept criticism.

“We’re not pointing fingers, we’re not looking for culprits, we’re in this together but we had to point out things in our game where we could have defended better. The attacking principles of our game, what we failed to do .

“Amazingly, we lacked structure in our last game. Then we lacked pace and repetition in our attacks, positional discipline in attack. We lacked intensity and investment in our defence.

“These are not general criticisms, but details of situations. I like the players and the group and we can be better together.

“It’s very atypical for us. We’ve looked at it, talked to the team about it. We have to stop this kind of direction as soon as possible. And the best possibility is tomorrow (Saturday).

Chelsea lost the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final 3-1 to Real Madrid

“It’s not in our style to defend like that and concede so many goals. We didn’t see it coming because it wasn’t the case before the international break. It’s not easy to manage because it doesn’t fit into a pattern.”

“A huge opportunity” missed against Real

Speaking after the loss to Real Madrid, a clearly frustrated Tuchel said he thought the tie was no longer alive.

Reflecting on his reaction, he said it came from feeling his team had let a “huge opportunity” slip away.

“We had a defeat against Liverpool and I was disappointed with the result but we were absolutely delighted with the way we played, what a game it was,” he said. “So the feeling the next day was very different to Brentford and Real Madrid.

“I felt like we gave a huge opportunity [against Real Madrid]. It’s not normal to play quarter-finals in the Champions League. A huge evening against a huge opponent and we did not bring our best level.

“That’s why we were disappointed and angry. After the game I wasn’t so good at hiding my emotions, but I know how much better we can play, how unusual the mistakes and performances were. for us.”

While the first leg loss to Real Madrid means Chelsea have everything to do to keep their Champions League defense alive when they visit the Bernabeu next week, the loss to Brentford has left them looking over the top. their shoulder at the national level.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford’s win over Chelsea in the Premier League

Chelsea are now just five points clear of Tottenham and Arsenal, who sit fourth and fifth, and Tuchel says his players need to reach a high level to challenge for third place or they will be vulnerable to losing the position they have held since early December.

“I am absolutely confident [Chelsea can finish third] but not as a given,” said Tuchel. “It’s the most demanding league in the world.

“We know how hard we’ve struggled throughout the season. I still think the team can play at a very high level, but if we don’t reach it we can lose against teams from anywhere. what quality. We’ve proven that in the last five days. It’s a reminder for us.

“We shouldn’t be ashamed to fight for third place. It’s a tough competition until the very last day. Do I feel confident? Yes because I have confidence in my players and my staff. But is it obvious? No.”

Team news: Hudson-Odoi out; Lukaku, Ziyech doubt

Tuchel has confirmed that Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles and back) will not be available this weekend and is expected to be out for “a few weeks”.

There were also doubts over Romelu Lukaku (Achilles) and Hakim Ziyech (hitting) who missed training on Thursday with ‘little issues’ and would need testing ahead of Friday afternoon training to see if they will be available to face Southampton.

Chelsea match schedule:

April 9 – Southampton premier league

April 12 – Real Madrid (a) Champions League Qualifying second leg

April 17 – Crystal Palace (Wembley) FA Cup semi-final

April 20 – Arsenal (h) premier league, live on Sky Sports

April 24 – West Ham (h) premier league, live on Sky Sports

April 26/27 – Man City/Atlético de Madrid Champions League SF first leg*

May 1 – Everton (a) premier league, live on Sky Sports

May 3/4 – Man City/Atlético de Madrid SF Champions League second leg*

May 7 – Wolves (h) premier league

May 11 – Leeds Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup Final *

May 15 – Manchester United (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 19 – Leicester (h) premier league

May 22 – Watford (h) premier league

May 28 – Champions League Final *

* Subject to progress

Sky Sports

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