Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted he has no concerns over the mental strength of his side ahead of a make-or-break period in their season.
The Blues have lost their last two games, against Arsenal in the Premier League and Leicester in the FA Cup final, and now face a nervy end to the season in their quest to finish in the top four and win the Champions League.
It’s the worst form of Tuchel’s reign so far, and the Chelsea misery was only exacerbated by the women getting thumped 4-0 by Barcelona in their Champions League final on Sunday, but the boss was adamant that Chelsea have what it takes to navigate this tricky period.
“We have enough leaders and this is a strong group who deserved to win the final,” Tuchel said (via The Guardian). “We can absolutely accept that we didn’t win and that we can improve in some moments of the game. But it was enough to win the game and we were simply unlucky.
“If you have a group that arrives in the final, a Champions League final and arrives from ninth place to be in the race for the top four, there’s no reason to doubt that we are not strong enough.
“We were strong enough to arrive here so I’m pretty sure we are strong enough to handle the situation. Is it easy? No. But that’s the challenge. There is a lot of teams out there who are jealous of our situation.”
Chelsea must dust themselves off and prepare for Tuesday’s league meeting with third-placed Leicester – a game Tuchel has described as a ‘second final’ in the race for the top four – before a meeting with Aston Villa will lead into the European final against Manchester City.
There is still so much on the line, and Tuchel urged his players to get their heads straight and focused on the task at hand.
“They are quite down but I hope we built a relationship that goes beyond results,” Tuchel said of his players. “We are not happy with our performances even if we win sometimes. We are not happy when we lose. But there are aspects in this game we can absolutely be satisfied with.
“This is about bouncing back and we will not stop pushing the team. Now we push back in the race for the top four. It’s in our hands.
“We have another two finals. I’m not angry. I won’t be too much into criticism. It’s so hard to accept because you never think about losing a final. But it’s the best thing to play again on Tuesday. We will now figure out who is fit and try to conserve the positive things. I hope the atmosphere isn’t too negative because there is no reason for it.”