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Thomas Tuchel concedes Chelsea playing ‘behind our own standards’


Thomas Tuchel has admitted Chelsea have underperformed after allowing Manchester City to sail clear at the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea are 10 points below City before visiting the champions on Saturday and Tuchel, who feels that injuries have hurt his side, said that he expected to mount a stronger title challenge. The manager acknowledged that the European champions had dropped too many unnecessary points, though he has not given up on catching Pep Guardiola’s team.

“We would love to be closer to City,” Tuchel said. “We are never happy when we are behind our own standards and this is where we are. We have at the same time trust. We are still hungry. The season is not finished. We will never give up.

“At the same time we have to say City is not only performing but also overperforming, not making mistakes, winning tight games, pushing luck on their side, so at some point you need to be fair and accept it, be realistic. It helps in life if you’re not a dreamer and you’re not pessimistic.”

Chelsea’s search for cover at left wing-back has seen them recall Kenedy from his loan at Flamengo. Ben Chilwell is out for the season and Tuchel wants Emerson Palmieri back from his loan at Lyon, who do not want to release the Italy defender. Lyon’s manager, Peter Bosz, said on Friday that the French club would keep Emerson. Chelsea have also targeted Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest, who can play on both flanks.

There is no recall option for Emerson and Lyon have rejected three offers of compensation from Chelsea, who have been forced to make insurance plans. Ian Maatsen, on loan at Coventry, is injured and Tuchel said that Kenedy, who has not played for Chelsea for four years, would be given an opportunity.

There is a chance the Brazilian will go on loan again. There is currently no space for Kenedy in Chelsea’s 25-man squad for the Premier League, although Lewis Baker and Ross Barkley could make room for the 25-year-old by leaving.

“Cross the river when you are at the river,” Tuchel said. “We are not at the river yet. He has to show if he is able to and if it’s his dream to make his mark. I like the guy, I like his personality and I like the player.

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“I saw him not only as Chelsea manager, but also when he played for Chelsea. I remember him playing for Newcastle. But let’s be realistic, it’s a long time ago. We will not decide it today and not tomorrow. We have time.”

Chelsea will be without Andreas Christensen against City after the centre-back tested positive for Covid-19. Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah are injured.



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