Thomas Tuchel has declared that he did not ‘feel the belief’ of his Chelsea players after tasting defeat in the Premier League for the first time this season at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. Gabriel Jesus fired past Edouard Mendy shortly after half-time to secure all three points for the visitors, who dominated the ball and enjoyed the lion’s share of chances at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea defended resolutely in the opening stages but struggled to play the ball out of their own half, with City’s aggressive press causing plenty of issues for the European champions.
They failed to manage the transition between defence and attack over the course of the 90 minutes, with their inability to create chances ultimately coming back to bite them when Jesus found the bottom corner of the net in the second half.
The introduction of Kai Havertz saw Chelsea up the tempo as the clock ticked down, but City held on to seal a hugely important victory and take a huge step towards returning to the summit of the Premier League table.
Tuchel was visibly animated on the touchline for the duration of the match and was left disappointed by the result in the first meeting between Chelsea and City since last season’s Champions League final.
The German boss told BT Sport after the final whistle that his players did not show enough desire to bring the fight to City, lamenting their struggles in dealing with the energy of their opponents.
“We lost the game and City deserved to win,” said Tuchel. “Until the goal we were very strong in the last 20 metres of the field, but only there unfortunately.
“Everywhere else we were not good enough to relieve pressure and to hurt them.
“The performance was not complex enough. Overall, simply, we were not at our best level.
“After the goal it felt a little bit like the belief in winning was bigger than the fear of losing, I don’t know why. We tried to push and get the crowd behind us.
“It was a very emotional game but never on our highest level. We conceded a goal from a set play.
“Even if we wanted to go for long balls for Romelu [Lukaku] it was not precise enough. I didn’t really feel the belief that we could escape the short balls.
“It was doubtful and it felt like we had something to lose. We lacked a little bit of freshness also.”
Saturday’s result saw Chelsea slip down to third in the Premier League table, with the Blues now level on points with leaders Liverpool, second-placed City and Manchester United in fourth.
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The Red Devils were also beaten in their early match against Aston Villa, with Kortney Hause’s second-half goal denying Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side another win at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will be looking to put things right against Juventus when they resume their Champions League title defence on Wednesday evening.
The west London club will return to action in the Premier League three days later, with Southampton set to visit Stamford Bridge in search of what could be their first victory of the season.