Thomas Tuchel has slammed his Chelsea side’s defense and lack of resilience in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat by Southampton, while also hitting back at criticism of his strikerless setup.
The west Londoners took the lead on the south coast through Raheem Sterling after 23 minutes but conceded an equalizer just five minutes later when Romeo Lavia went uncovered from a corner on the edge of the box.
A clever move from the hosts put Adam Armstrong in the net just before half-time and in truth it looked like Southampton were more likely to contribute in the second half.
Tuchel’s side are now down eight points after just five games, even after suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat at Elland Road, and he has criticized his players’ recent performance, saying there was a lack of struggle.
“We don’t have an answer to every question so quickly after the game, but obviously we weren’t tough enough to win those games away from home,” he said at his post-match press conference.
“It’s a bit the same story as against Leeds. At Leeds we thought the problem was we didn’t score in the first 20 or 25 minutes and then they knocked us off balance with two goals in two minutes and we couldn’t find answers.
“Today we scored so obviously everything was fine, but again a set piece, again a sloppy defense and we were off balance and today we didn’t react to that.
“We were lucky not to concede a third goal early in the second half. We weren’t hard enough as a team to react or get it over the line for us, that’s how I see it.’
He added: “Soft, soft, soft defence. There is no need to give away shots. Just get tougher as a team and show a different mentality.”
Tuchel also snapped back at reporters when it was suggested that Chelsea might not have been a focal point above, as he felt his side’s lack of firepower was far from the biggest problem at St Mary’s.
“No, that’s the totally wrong question today,” he replied when asked if Chelsea had an absolute number nine before Armando Borja’s late introduction.
“Defending those goals has nothing to do with attacking. We scored, we had chances, it was enough. We were able to keep a clean sheet, we were able to stay at 1-1, everything was fine.
“But we’re not strong enough as a team. It’s not a question of striker or no striker or no focus or whatever. That’s the wrong question for me at the moment.”
When it was suggested that Raheem Sterling had worked hard at the top, Tuchel was again irritated by the series of questions and interrupted: “He’s a team player, but we’re not strong enough as a team at the moment. useless. Wrong question.’
For more stories like this, visit our sports page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.