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Tuchel admits he ‘never’ saw Chelsea strength as further major worry aired

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted that his players never looked like they believed they could win their Premier League match against Manchester City.

The Blues lost for the first time at Stamford Bridge this season on Saturday, as City won 1-0. Indeed, the victory is a crucial one for Pep Guardiola’s men and it sent a key title message in the early stages of the season.

The first half proved a cagey encounter, despite City dominating. In fact, they failed to create too many chances as Chelsea remained defensively sound.

However, in the second half, Gabriel Jesus’ eventual winner saw the game spring into life. City continued to dominate, but resisted something of a Chelsea fightback.

Tuchel told BT Sport after the game: “I did not feel the belief that we can really escape the short balls today. I didn’t really feel 100 per cent the belief that if we played long balls we would believe in it.

“It was doubtful and we were a little bit like protecting something, like there was something to lose. But there was a lot more to win.”

Tuchel added on the likes of substitute Thiago Silva, who came on to replace injured England international Reece James: “We lacked a bit of freshness, also energy.

“N’Golo [Kante] had some illnesses in some days, I decided to let him start, Jorginho has some problems, Thiago [Silva] could not start.

“So maybe this is on me, not the very best choices today, but OK.”

Chelsea have made a name for themselves for being defensively sound since Tuchel took over in January.

However, they sealed Romelu Lukaku’s return with the hope of finding more goals up the other end.

Still, the Belgian failed to get into the game at all and had very few chances against Man City.

Tuchel admits Chelsea performance concern

“We lost the game, City deserved to win. For 60 minutes we were very, very strong in the last 20 metres of the field, but only there unfortunately,” Tuchel added.

“With 80 metres left, we were not good enough today to escape pressure, to have ball possession. Not only ball possession, but also to switch the play and hurt them and grow in confidence. This never happened in the first half.

“The performance was not complex enough, it was simply not on our very best level.

“That’s why you can never expect a result. It’s always possible to turn things around, but in general we can accept [the result].”

Chelsea return to action on Wednesday when facing Juventus in the Champions League.

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