Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel says 'difficult' Stamford Bridge pitch contributed to Arsenal defeat

Krishan Davis
It was another frustrating home match for Thomas Tuchel
It was another frustrating home match for Thomas Tuchel / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages
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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has suggested the Stamford Bridge pitch played a role in his side's 4-2 loss to Arsenal on Wednesday night - a defeat littered with defensive errors from the hosts.

Arsenal had led twice only to be pegged back by Chelsea equalisers in the first period, but they eventually saw off their London rivals courtesy of second-half goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka.

Three of the Gunners' four strikes were a direct result of errors from Chelsea players, with Andreas Christensen's horrible back pass pounced upon by Nketiah in the first half, and both Cesar Azpilicueta and Malang Sarr giving the ball away as the striker nabbed his brace.

However, Tuchel was in no mood to point the finger at individuals after the match.

"We conceded seven goals with Toni [Rudiger] against Brentford and Real Madrid, that answers the question," he said when asked whether he had missed the German. "It's not about individual players. A defensive performance is a team performance and an offensive performance is a team performance.

"You need to have the tactics right, which is doubtful I had this right, and you need the team selection right, again it's doubtful I had this right."

Following his error and a difficult first half, Christensen was subbed at the break - but when asked why Tuchel claimed it was down to an injury and pointed to the state of the Stamford Bridge playing surface.

“He said he cannot continue so I think he had some problems," he said. "I don’t take a player out because he makes one mistake.

"To say the pitch is difficult to play here, it maybe sounds like an excuse but it is a very, very difficult pitch that we have here. It’s not in our favour. The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas when he wants to play this ball.

"But still, we had the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round of the Champions League and this one cost us the next match. I can’t remember when we got two goals like this.”

Assessing the overall performance, the German coach added: "It was a totally wild and open game in the first half – already a 2-2 after we came back twice. We had a good start but again gave the first goal away which is impossible to do these things in consecutive matches.

"But we're doing it. We came back twice and we scored another two in the second half, unfortunately for the wrong side.

"It's a level of mistakes, the number of mistakes in consecutive games here at home, it's impossible at this kind of level. You don't see this. It's simply impossible But we're doing this at the moment and you cannot win football games like this."


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