Homas Tuchel admits Chelsea have no hope of fighting their way into the title race – despite rediscovering their best form in recent weeks.
The European champions secured their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.
He has won six consecutive victories in all competitions and just one defeat in 14 games – losing on penalties to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.
If Chelsea win their game less in the Premier League, they will close the gap with leaders Manchester City to eight points. With Liverpool and City yet to play each other, there is a chance to get even closer.
But Tuchel insists the thoughts on the title are almost certainly beyond his side.
“The problem is that they’ve also been on the run for a long time,” he said. “They’re like three years in a row, I have a feeling. It seems that with their three consecutive years, our 13 games are not enough.
“We have to be honest. We will never admit anything until things are decided. We will always push ourselves and push ourselves to the limit. We can’t do anything else, but we mustn’t get carried away.
“Both of these teams took advantage of our problems, so all the credit goes to them. They deserve to be where they are and we have to make sure we grab as many points as possible.
Tuchel has always maintained his side can compete with City and Liverpool – but stresses that their mid-season collapse is key to their failure to keep pace.
“In this period when the gap has grown between Liverpool and City with us, there have also been injuries. Unfortunately, we have struggled with long-term injuries and corona.
“We came at a time with 14 players at Wolves after coronavirus. There was a time that hit us hard where players had to self-isolate for 10 or 12 days with symptoms. It was a rule and we struggled with it.
“But the attitude was still there and at a very high level. The season was still like that. We are still struggling with injuries to important players.
“You saw it with the return of Reece James a few weeks ago and that was immediately decisive for us. It’s like that at the moment.
“We work hard for luck, but we accept that luck is also necessary when you get a winning streak like we had.
“But still, the mentality is good, the quality is good and I felt after the Club World Cup that we were more fluid and with more pace in training and that raised the level to an incredible level. in training on match day. From there we had a good feeling and I’m glad we got it right.