See Tuchel’s Reaction After Chelsea’s Friendly Draw Against Tottenham Hotspur
We’re only a week away from seeing our first semi-competitive fixture of the season, the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, and ten days away from Chelsea’s season opener against Crystal Palace on the 14th. That’s not a lot of time for the Blues to finish up preparations, especially since many players have just returned from summer vacations after competing in summer tournaments.
That’s why it was so encouraging to see Chelsea put in such a spirited, determined, and high-quality effort in the first 45-60 minutes of their friendly against Spurs on Wednesday night, essentially running the visitors off the pitch in front of a raucous home crowd at Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Tuchel, the head coach, was rightfully thrilled as his team went 2-0 up (and had a goal by Timo Werner mistakenly ruled out) before falling to second-half errors again to settle for a draw. He said after the game; “We got off to a great start, and the game was tense from start to finish. For the first 25 minutes, you could feel the effect of the crowd; it didn’t feel like a friendly match at all. There was a slight dip in intensity after that, but in the final 15 minutes, with each ball won by N’Golo Kanté, there was another opportunity to speed up the game. As a result, we did exceptionally well in this. We had active ball recoveries, we produced solid chances, we had strong ball control, and we defended well. So I was ecstatic for 60 minutes. We then had a lot of substitutions, and regrettably, there were two major individual errors, which Tottenham exploited to earn a point. It’s not always about the outcome, but there were clear reasons today, and there were many positives for us to take away from the game.”
Tuchel continues; “We had 42 players in the building, which is simply impossible. To provide quality and sensible training for the three groups to which we belong, [we] had to make certain judgments. At the same time, we want to learn more about the guys we’ll be selecting. Ross [Barkley] had the same opportunity as Danny Drinkwater to play one-half against Arsenal. We felt that Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] deserved to play today, and we wanted to give Bakayoko a chance to play for the first time under our guidance. Perhaps it is unjust to evaluate them because we do not know them well, but at the very least, everyone has had the opportunity to participate in a game. So it was a matter of picking and choosing.”
As Tuchel stated in his post-match press conference, there are already 42 players in first-team training, which is plainly an unmanageable quantity. With livelihoods and jobs on the line, cuts must be made, at least metaphorically. This is a difficult scenario for everyone concerned, emphasizing the significance and impact of the few opportunities granted to individuals on the team’s periphery.